Virgin Mobile USA Opens WAP Walled Garden


Very cool! I've been spending the past 24 hours spending quality time with my various phones, experimenting with Verizon's 3G, my T-Mobile Hiptop, etc. I also pulled out my Virgin Mobile Flasher V7 phone to see if they had done anythign different lately, and they have. I heard a couple months ago that Virgin Mobile USA was going to open up their walled garden (that I complained about back in January) and it looks like they've done just that! Woohoo! They now have an option on their "XL" page to "Surf the Web". Here's more information about it at Virgin Mobile's website. (According to Wikipedia, this happened a month ago and I missed it! Doh!)

This is very cool! They're charging $1 for 24 hour access, with a cap of 500k. Hmmmmm. Compared to Boost's 20 cents a day browsing, that seems like a lot, but I guess if you compare the .02 cents/Kb to Cingular's 1 cent/Kb non-plan I guess it's quite the bargain. :-) Also, Boost phones (I'm pretty sure) don't do WAP 2.0 and the Flasher V7 does, which opens up a lot more content. The Flasher is actually a great deal right now - for $99 you get pretty decent rates, a camera phone with texting, etc. and now the open web as well. The WAP 2.0 browser is good and CDMA 2000 1x is pretty decent in terms of speed, so it's really not a bad browsing experience.

A cool thing is if you send a URL in a text message, the Flasher supports opening it up the browser by clicking on More -> Launch. This is great stuff! I zipped over a Phonifier link to my blog via a text message and it worked perfectly. Considering that just the text of the page was 36Kb, that's a pretty impressive built-in browser! A Motorola phone would choke on anything bigger than 5Kb. (Bleh.)

Audiovox definitely makes decent phones. My Verizon VCast phone is an Audiovox as well, and I have to say the ability to change the font size is really nice. The 3G EVDO speeds on that phone make it A PLEASURE to browse the web, I'll tell you. Just as fast as your desktop - totally cool. Definitely invest in Verizon, they are going to make a killing in data traffic this year. Well, I think that Virgin will do pretty well as well, 1X isn't EVDO by any stretch, but it's definitely not bad!

Now, I'll have to send this post off to some Yahoos because 1) Our mobile site is returning WAP 1.0 pages instead of 2.0 for the Flasher and 2) Google is shown prominently on the Infospace-powered Virgin Mobile WAP Portal. I'm not sure what kind of deal they have, but I'd really like us to be in there. I love Virgin Mobile - it'd be killer if they were working with us.

Cool stuff.


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