In the weeks leading up to CTIA I received more emails and phone calls then I care to remember from PR people imploring me to take a meeting with their exciting new client so I could learn (and write) about their exciting new breakthrough technology/content offering/service model. Most of those requests I read and discarded in the name of sanity. One meeting I did take was with Picsel. Why? When I saw the name I remembered using their software on a few Samsung review phones and being impressed with it. So I wanted to learn what they're up to these days.
What Picsel is doing now is nothing short of making a run at becoming the standard for wireless content delivery to handsets. Picsel's Browser and Viewer software already provide best-in-class (or near to it) Web browsing and Office document viewing for millions of wireless users worldwide. My first experience with Picsel came on a Samsung Windows Mobile device last year; I was literally amazed at how the standard IE Mobile Web experience paled in comparison to what Picsel Browser gave me. Dealing with email attachments was similar - Picsel Viewer let me scroll, zoom, and pan my way around Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and PDF files that WInMob alone just couldn't deal with.
Now Picsel is aiming to lay claim to the custom mobile content space. At CTIA they were previewing an end-to-end solution that includes publishing solutions for developers and carriers alike, and a content viewer with a Flash-based UI. While Picsel's tricks - layering video content with banner ads meant "to look like content, and not necessarily advertisements" - aren't necessarily new, they've got the design sense to make them look and feel good. That's no easy feat on a two inch screen.
WIth a Picsel Viewer install base already around 80 million, relationships with major carriers in the US and abroad, a few years' worth of partnership with Samsung already under their belt, Picsel has the experience and industry foothold to become a major player in the burgeoning wireless entertainment and publishing arenas. Though the demos I saw in Orlando were only canned versions of what may be going live later this year, they looked good. If their publishing tools work as well as their Web and file browsers, and if they open up some avenues of mobile content development to the thousands of PC and Web designers now turning their skills towards the mobile world, Picsel's technology might just become the best part of using interactive services on your cell phone.
And you probably won't even know it's there.