Until recently, there was no easier way to transfer data between cellphones than wirelessly
“bumping” the information. That process, which was developed by the California-based startupBump Technologies, worked by knocking two devices together. Back-end technology determined which phones had “bumped” each other and synched the specified data – photos, mobile applications, music files, contact information, etc. – between the phones.
Bump has been around since 2008. At the CTIA Wireless trade show last month, an alternative called Gogobeans emerged that takes the Bump concept a step further. Like Bump, a Gogobeans transfer is activated by swiftly moving a mobile device with a flick of the wrist. Since the two devices don’t need to physically touch, Gogobeans calls the motion a “bounce” instead of a “bump.”
But while Bump transfers are limited to data that resides on the phone and to devices that are in close proximity, Gogobeans operates regardless of user location and pulls data from online “lockers” that the company manages for users.
These cloud computing-supported lockers enable Gogobeans to transmit both a greater variety of files and larger files than Bump currently can. (The wireless part of the bounce process runs on Wi-Fi or cellular networks –- 2G, 3G or 4G.) And because Gogobeans doesn’t actually transport these files but rather sends users an index key that points to the files’ locations within users’ lockers, it’s difficult to intercept or hack the transfers.
Gogobeans co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Robert Hayden says these features make Gogobeans’ service, which the company calls “shake to bounce,” ideal for sharing large, confidential files like income tax files or sales presentations.
The Gogobeans mobile application, which will officially launch April 15 in the Apple App Store and Google Android Market, is also suited to mobile payments. An electronic cash register could, for instance, be programmed to bounce out digital receipts using Gogobeans. A Gogobeans user could shake his phone (or iPad) to get that receipt wirelessly delivered to his device. The user could then pay the bill using a credit card or stored value system.
Bump is already being used for mobile payments via a partnership with PayPal but the payments are generally between two individuals, not between businesses and customers. Other mobile startups, like Gogobeans’ Palo Alto neighbor Bling Nation, are handling mobile payments and digital receipts using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags.
Hayden acknowledges that Gogobeans would be a good fit for mobile payments. But he says the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company is more interested in regular file and data transfers. Gogobeans is also preparing an additional service for June that appears to be related to multimedia file transfers or, possibly, streaming media. “We could do mobile payments today but we think this other thing is a better opportunity for us,” says Hayden.