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ZYB To Launch Free SMS Backup Service, Social Networking Tools At 3GSM

Online mobile backup service ZYB is to launch a free SMS-backup service at the 3GSM mobile conference in Barcelona on Monday, adding to ZYB's existing contact backup service; company spokesman Runar Reistrup told us in an exclusive interview.

The existing ZYB service allows one to back up contacts stored on a GPRS or WAP enabled cellphone to the ZYB database; so that these contacts can be easily referenced and downloaded to a new phone as and when required.

The SMS backup service will, naturally enough, allow one to do the same for text messages, allowing one to both keep important messages as well as a record of texts beyond what your phone will store.

The hitch for the SMS backup service is that in order to utilize a data carrier service it runs on the SyncML 1.2 standard, which was only ratified in August 2006 and so most current mobile phones won't support the SMS backup until later in 2007. Launching on Monday will be a slimmed down version of the SMS backup service which will allow users to forward messages they want backed up to ZYB, paying the operator charge for a text message but nothing to ZYB themselves.

ZYB is also introducing some social networking elements into ZYB to hold users over until the bulk SMS backup can be introduced in the second half of 2007.

The company will be giving users the choice of making some of their data public, in order to allow users who share cellphone contacts to hook up and trade information. The company is hoping that by enabling public profiles, ala zyb.com/yourname, users will be able to (literally) network with others.

One can choose to make your cellphone number public on your profile, though as standard ZYB will only show your name and link to that profile if you choose to turn on the social networking features. The idea is that friends and professionals in the same groups can trade contacts, share calendar information and also use ZYB as a passport to the rest of their digital lives.

"As a person's use of ZYB is directly linked to their mobile right from the start, we expect ZYB to create a new 'need' that supplements their existing use on online communities, be that be on MySpace or LinkedIN," said company representative Runar Reistrup.

"Since we do not see ZYB as a direct competitor to the existing communities, we are planning an 'online life' indicator on ZYB," Reistrup continued. "This would be a directory of the profiles that a given contact might have on MySpace, Flickr, Facebook, LinkedIN and so on. For each contact in your contacts list, you should ideally be able to click directly through to other parts of the persons online life"

The social networking aspect of ZYB will launch later in 2007. You can check out ZYB here.