MySpace has just launched a new version of their mobile website designed for iPhone, Android and Palm WebOS users. The now-improved site at m.myspace.com offers quick access to your profile, including comments, your activity stream, your status, your inbox and more. Also available is a button dedicated to your photos, which makes it easier to browse through your albums. However, the most notable of the new features is the built-in instant-messaging function which makes the new mobile website a communication tool in addition to being just another social-networking app.Social networking site
Although the mobile site at m.myspace.com is available from any mobile web browser, the newly updated version only visible to users of select smartphones. That's because the new site is specifically designed to take advantage of features present in the advanced web browsers present on those devices. Users visiting from other phones will still encounter the older site, which itself was revamped at the beginning of the year, with a new look designed to make it more closely resemble the original, desktop-based website.
In addition to real-time updates from MySpace, the new mobile site introduces a built-in client which displays a web-enabled version of MySpace IM, the company's own instant messaging service. By tapping on the "IM" button under the "Me" tab, you can instantly go online and chat with friends just as if you were using a standalone instant-messaging software application.
Mobile Website Now Outperforms Native Apps
What's most interesting about the new web-based IM functionality in the updated site, is the fact that this is (for now) the only official tool provided by the company for IMing from your mobile device. Believe it or not, the dedicated mobile applications built for the iPhone, Android and Palm do not include an IM client at all. This has been a much-requested feature from MySpace users who have had no other choice but to use third-party applications like BeeJive IM, for example. In fact, a quick Google search on the topic leads to multiple MySpace forum posts begging for this feature as well as this user-created YouTube video demonstrating how you can get MySpace IM on your iPhone via other methods.
According to the company, 75% of its user base accesses the mobile web site, which could explain why they've focused on updating the site first before updating the native apps. However, it's likely that the majority of their mobile web visitors are those without expensive smartphones, and so are being redirected to the older site. Without detailed statistics from the company itself, this is only a guess. But outside demographic studies show that MySpace is dominated by younger users, and is the social networking site with users in the lowest income levels. It seems probable that the network's mobile-website visitors don't own expensive mobile devices. That makes the smartphone mobile-website update and any forthcoming native app updates somewhat of a nonstarter for many MySpace users.
It will be interesting to see if MySpace soon updates their native applications to include this new functionality as well, or if they're more sold on the idea that the mobile web is - or at least should be - the app of choice for their users.
If you're interested in visiting the new site, you can do so via m.myspace.com using your phone's web browser. The new changes are live for everyone as of now.