Sports Illustrated Applications Maker to Offer Android Versions


Polar Mobile, the developer of mobile-phone applications for Sports Illustrated magazine, said a slew of new devices based on Google Inc.’s Android software will help it boost growth from abroad.

“We’re getting ready to go global,” Chief Executive Officer Kunal Gupta said in an interview. “Android does have the potential to be the top smart-phone operating system globally.”

Polar Mobile, based in Toronto, will release an Android application for in the next 10 days, Gupta said today. While the company’s customers currently are in North America, it will introduce programs for “major brands” in India, China, Brazil and Korea within the next six months, he said. HTC Corp., the world’s top maker of Android phones, plans to make seven devices for China Mobile Ltd. through 2010 alone.

Polar Mobile plans to have Android programs for Sports Illustrated, Time Magazine and other customers within six months. It makes applications for BusinessWeek magazine for Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry and Apple Inc.’s iPhone and for the iPhone. Program downloads reached 1 million in early September and are now at about 1.5 million, Gupta said.

At least four companies, including Motorola Inc., plan to offer Android devices in the next year as consumer demand for sophisticated handsets grows. Smart-phone sales rose 27 percent globally in the second quarter, while the broader mobile-phone market fell 6.1 percent, according to Stamford, Connecticut- based Gartner Inc.

LG Electronics Inc., the world’s third-largest mobile-phone maker, said this month it will introduce an Android handset in the fourth quarter. Suwon, Korea-based Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s No. 2 maker behind Nokia Oyj, also has plans for a device. Samsung gets three-fifths of revenue from Asia, and the region accounts for about 48 percent of Seoul-based LG’s sales.

60 Countries

HTC, based in Taiwan will join with Sprint Nextel Corp. to sell the Hero handset in the U.S. from Oct. 11.

Polar Mobile’s applications have been downloaded by users in about 60 countries, Gupta said. It currently develops programs for English- and French-language publishers.

Polar Mobile has about 30 employees and is looking to add at least seven more, said Gupta. He started the company in 2007 in Waterloo, Ontario, where he studied software engineering. The city is home to RIM.

by Hugo Miller

[via Bloomberg]


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