Web Service Lets Users Try Out Mobile Phones - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications

Web Service Lets Users Try Out Mobile Phones

Mobile Complete's free TryPhone lets users take mobile devices out for a virtual test drive before they buy.

Mobile Complete on Monday launched an interactive Web service that lets mobile users test-drive popular phone models before buying them.

Mobile Complete was founded in 2003 and specializes in tools for automated testing of mobile applications.

The company's free service, dubbed TryPhone, can be accessed via a Web site, which contains virtual mobile phones that simulate the exact same features of physical phones. The devices appear on the screen larger than normal, allowing people to press buttons, run programs, and compare different devices.

Users also get an overview of the phone they're interested in, as well as reviews, technical specifications, and demos. TryPhone even offers users the option to buy a phone when they're done testing it by linking to the provider's Web site.

Mobile Complete said its goal is to provide mobile users with a less stressful purchasing experience without salespeople and long store lines. With an overwhelming amount of options for mobile phones, the service also provides a good overview of different devices and their features.

"One of the overriding goals of TryPhone is to better educate consumers about which mobile handsets are right for them. TryPhone provides a series of demos and tutorials to guide the consumer after they have purchased their phone -- saving them the time and hassle of trying to read manuals or figure out applications by themselves," said Faraz Syed, CEO of Mobile Complete, in an e-mail.

TryPhone doesn't use flash-based or emulation programs; instead the service uses Mobile Complete's DeviceAnywhere Direct-to-Device technology, a combination of hardware and software that connects to mobile devices.

Mobile application developers use Direct-to-Device to remotely access devices connected to live networks via software over the Internet. The "automatic crawler" feature scans phones and creates a blueprint of all the pathways, which are used to create interactive virtual phones.

The service is currently launched in beta, so don't expect to find a comprehensive list of devices. Initially there are only four devices available for testing: the BlackBerry Pearl, the Samsung Juke, LG Muziq, and the Apple iPhone.

Mobile Complete plans to continually add new phones on a weekly basis.

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