Norwegian mobile caller ID search startup Mobile Nordic has changed its name to Numo Solutions. Accordingly, the firm's mobile phone number and SMS search products, previously with country-specific localized names, will be branded as Numo Finder and Numo SMS Preview, respectively. The changes preempt new operator deals and handset manufacturer deals in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, said to be announced within a few months. The firm will also open new offices and affiliates in Beijing, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, and Taipei.
Numo's main product Numo Finder provides an automatic network phonebook directory caller ID search, showing the caller's name and address in real time on the screen. The unique selling point is thus being able to decide for oneself before answering calls, and prioritizing important calls while neglecting telemarketers etc.
The application also includes other features like call log search and unlimited manual search for names, businesses, and addresses. Numo Finder is currently available in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Germany, and also fetches caller information from the UK phone number directory (though Brits seem to be much more reluctant to have their number listed in public directories).
SMS Preview on the other hand shows a preview of the incoming text message on the screen automatically after receiving it. It may not be that valuable a feature alone, but notably the application pop up space can also fit in mobile marketing ads in addition to the SMS text. Therefore some operators have shown great interest in the product as a way to deliver mobile marketing, as a Numo representative commented to me directly.
The short video below (still with the old branding) shows how the caller ID search works in practice:
The service is clearly beneficial to all stakeholders - operators get a new billable service, and handset manufacturers, striving to offer the best user experience, could integrate the unknown number search in their new "social phonebook 2.0's" (à la Android Motorola Droid and Sony Ericsson X10), giving users the ability to see detailed information of the person calling (or a missed call), be it a friend or a stranger.
Numo currently supports Symbian S60, Java J2ME, Windows Mobile, and Android platforms. Blackberry and iPhone support is said to be on the way. However, especially with Java and iPhone handsets the functionality is likely to be somewhat limited, as iPhone does not allow background apps and only Sony Ericsson widely supports background Java applications in their handsets. In order to provide a seamless automatic caller ID experience the Numo app would have to run in the background, intercepting and identifying each arriving call. Nevertheless, the easy manual search can still surely be a service which adds good value.
This year, the firm has won a GSMA Mobile Award for Most Innovative Consumer Application or Service, and also been a Red Herring Europe 100 finalist. Numo will face increasingly fierce competition, however, as the technology is not unique and there are other similar solutions. But at least for now the firm has been able to successfully expand quickly across Scandinavia with good quality and a flat rate monthly fee pricing as opposed to previously typical per search charges.