Mister Wong comes Beam it up Scotty, a mobile file sharing service that launched at the Le Web 3 conference a couple of weeks ago. Beam it up Scotty is a way to send pictures, music, videos, documents or any other file to any mobile device for free, but is it really worth it?From the people who brought us social bookmarking site
I use Verizon Wireless -- because the people I talk to most also use it (so, free mobile to mobile) and their network really is the strongest where I live. But Verizon's data plans suck. As a result, it is cost prohibitive for me to access the web from my mobile phone very often and so I generally don't (though, given my predictions this year, that could change in 2008). Right now, I don't even own a smart phone (I have a Samsung SCH-u540 -- a serviceable phone, certainly, but just a phone).
So the idea of a service that could send any type of file to my phone seemed pretty appealing. But Beam me up Scotty, it seems, was not designed for the type of cell phone user that I am. That is, the type that doesn't regularly access the Internet from their phone. As we noted in October, the large majority of mobile phone users in the United States fall into the same category.
After uploading a file to Beam it up Scotty, the site sends you an SMS/TXT message that contains a download link, which you can then use to access your file. One of the nice things about the service is that it can compress your files to make them easier to digest on your phone and quicker to download. But those of us who don't much use the mobile web -- or have no data plan at all -- are still left out in the cold.
I had been planning to use Beam it up Scotty to send myself an MP3 file to use as a ringtone, and though everything worked as expected, the download link in the text message I received wasn't much help. In order to get the ringtone on my phone, I turned to Myxer, which while occasionally slow, actually send files attached to a text message. That's much more convenient for non-mobile web users.
Further, because many phones being sold now include support for microSD cards, especially higher end smart phones that people are more likely to access the web on, the need for a site that can send you a file seems less and less each day. And I could be wrong, but if all Beam it up Scotty is doing is sending you a download link you can then click on via your phone, why not just use any number of free file hosting services and just browse to your files?
As Mobile Phone Development notes, the true usefulness of the Beam it up Scotty service may be in that it can be used to send files to anyone. That means developers can use it to push out applications for free to mobile customers -- though, without an API that could get tedious.