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Funambol is a Silicon Valley software company that provides a personal cloud (Cloud storage) solution for mobile operators, device manufacturers, internet portals, cable operators, software firms, system integrators, and other organizations that offer mobile services to consumers and business users.
Company and Project History
The Funambol project was started in 2001 by developers because of the lack of an open source Java implementation for mobile device data synchronization. The original name of the project was Sync4j, later changed into Funambol. The core development team was (and is) based in Pavia, Italy and it is led by Stefano Fornari (the main contributor to the open source project). Over the years, the Funambol project has gone beyond the original server engine, and now includes administration tools and client-side SDKs for Java and C++ development. Because of the project's fast growth, Funambol incorporated as a commercial entity in 2003, led by Fabrizio Capobianco as CEO, then received its first venture capital investment in 2005. Since then, the company has grown to provide several major product releases that are used by many of the largest companies in the mobile industry, including mobile operators, device manufacturers, internet portals, cable operators, software firms and system integrators.
The Open Source Project History
The Funambol open source project consists of a free and open source mobile sync server that provides PIM (address book and calendar) synchronization, and device management for wireless devices, leveraging standard protocols such as SyncML. This open source project is also a development platform for mobile applications. It provides C++ and Java client APIs and server side Java APIs, and facilitates the development, deployment and management of mobile projects.
The Funambol open source software includes several components:
- Funambol Data Sync Server: a server providing mobile sync capabilities for wireless clients and PCs.
- Funambol Device Management: an Open Mobile Alliance Device Management server to remotely manage mobile devices.
- Funambol Connectors: gateways to file systems, databases, email systems, and applications for two-way synchronization with existing data assets.
- Funambol Apps: protocol extenders and clients for Microsoft Office Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird (experimental), Mozilla Sunbird (experimental), Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, iPod, iPhone and Android so users can sync their PIM data (address book, calendar, tasks and notes) and pictures with the server.
- Funambol Software Development Kit: tools to develop sometimes-connected mobile apps on devices (in Java - Java SE and Java ME - and C++) and to add data sources to the server.
The Funambol open source software is licensed with the AGPLv3 license.
The OneMediaHub Commercial Product
To address commercial needs in the market, Funambol developed over the years its commercial OneMediaHub software that secures mobile content on mobile phones, tablets and computers in the cloud, syncs this content across diverse devices and enables sharing of the content with other people and systems. OneMediaHub differs from other cloud storage solutions in several important respects:
- It is not a direct B2C (business to consumer) service but rather, it is a white-label solution for mobile providers, including operators, device makers, internet portals and others who want to provide a cloud storage service to their users. White-label means that these mobile providers can put their own brand on the solution and go to market using their own name and brand, rather than using Funambol's brand. The ability to go to market with one's own brand versus another company's brand is often viewed as a major advantage for a mobile provider and that is why they often prefer this approach.
- OneMediaHub supports all popular smartphones, tablets and computers with a single cloud solution, which differs from iCloud, Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive, as they are intended to primarily work with one brand of device (iCloud for iPhone, Google Drive for Android and SkyDrive for Windows Phone). In this manner, it is possible that users can store, secure and share content from a variety of mobile devices and computers via a OneMediaHub-based cloud storage service, which is different from using one of these other services.
- It supports more than just files, in particular, it automatically syncs personal information management (PIM) data, including contacts (address books), calendars (agendas), tasks and notes. The ability to sync more than just files is relatively unique to OneMediaHub. iCloud can also sync some of this data but only with iOS devices, whereas OneMediaHub can sync this type of data across all popular brands of smartphones, tablets and computers.
There are two types of companies that provide services based on Funambol software. The first type are companies that have licensed Funambol's commercial software, called OneMediaHub, that provide a personal cloud (cloud storage) service to consumer and business end users. The other type are companies that provide a service based on Funambol's open source software. An important difference between the services offered by the two types of companies is that Funambol's commercial OneMediaHub software represents the company's latest technology, which includes support for rich media, while the open source software is not meant for large-scale deployments, it is not commercially supported and comprehensive.
The project has been recognized by industry groups and industry analysts worldwide with several awards:
- "2012 Mobile Merit Award". Mobile Merit Awards. April 2012.
- "OnMobile Top 100 Winner". AlwaysOn. June 2011.
- "Best Communications Solution". Telecom Council of Silicon Valley. February 2010.
- "Best Mobile Services, Delivery Platform Finalist". GSMA Global Mobile Awards. February 2010.
- "Consumer Cloud Services and Content Sync". MobileVillage. December 2009.
- New Product Innovation Award: Open Mobile Cloud, by Top Mobile Industry Analyst Firm, November 2009
- "Checkie Award for Open Mobile Cloud". VerticalResponse. August 2009.
- "Free BlackBerry Storm App of the Day". Wireless And Mobile News. April 2009.
- Best Mobile Services, Delivery Platform Finalist, by GSMA Global Mobile Awards, February 2009
- "Best Consumer Mobile Email Software, and Mobile Consumer Software Visionary". MobileStar Awards. October 2008.
- Best Emerging Mobile Startup, Expert Jury Award, by Mobile Monday Peer Awards @ 3GSM, February 2008
- "2006 Mobile Star Awards Winners". Mobile Village. 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
- "Editors' Choice 2006". Linux Journal. November 1, 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-07.