It took AOL years to cotton on to the fact that many people want to access all Web pages rather than have their hands held online. So it probably shouldn’t be surprising to learn the company appears to have just come to grips with this whole “mobile” craze.
In the new definition of “late to the party”, AOL has just announced a smartphone portal at m.aol.com which optimizes “the best of AOL” (?!) for all mobile devices. On HTML 5 compatible devices, there’ll be a touchscreen interface for fingertip access to local weather, movie and traffic updates.
Rather bizarrely there’ll also be an “application directory to easily find your favorite mobile apps”. Wow, if only somebody had thought of that one before.
The company is also launching two Android apps. One is simply titled AOL and allows the user to access both their AOL account information such as e-mail and content from the range of sites the company now owns such as Endgadget and FanHouse. The second app, Daily Finance, gives real-time stock quotes and can track up to 25 different portfolios.
While the AOL offerings bring us the grand sum of nothing much, the launch is notable for the fact that what is still a notable internet entity has chosen Android rather than the iPhone as its first port of call.
The official reason, given by AOL’s vice president of mobile David Temkin, is that Android has more momentum. While he hasn’t gone as far as saying Android is or will be the leader (either in quality or quantity), he did make the fairly reasonable statement that “Android has emerged as a top-tier smartphone platform.”
That said, you do have to wonder what the point of an AOL iPhone app would be anyway, given that virtually everything AOL is putting into its apps is available on a newly-bought Apple handset.