AvantGoing, Going…

Cross posted with www.mobilitysite.com.

ag_logo The end of an era in mobile computing is upon us. AvantGo, once a must-have application for many mobile users, is shutting down as of June 30th. The web-clipping service allowed users to download entire stories from such A-list media players as The New York Times, CNet and The Sporting News via their PC’s internet connection while syncing. No measely stubs or headlines as one gets from RSS feeds, no need to continue paging back to a website. These stories could then be read off line, in full, anywhere, anytime.

Starting this weeks, users have been discovering bright orange banners on most AvantGo pages saying that such content will soon no longer be available, and are receiving notices such as this…

After June 30, 2009, AvantGo will no longer be providing mobile Web content for sync or online access, and you will not be able to access or update your AvantGo content or account.

Since my first Tungsten E, AvantGo has always been one of the first applications I install on any device. It has been with me for years now through Palms and Clies and iPaqs and smartphones, and is still an application I open daily on my Moto Q. Born in the days before there were passable web browsers on every phone or PDA, when unlimited data packages were the province of only the most wealthy or best connected and when WiFi access points were few and far between, AvantGo was a lifesaver for many of us content-addicts. It allowed us to get the news of our choice in an easily readable handheld format, via our normal daily sync. No muss, no fuss, no long wait, no high phone bills.

To be honest, as mobile data speeds have been increasing, and data prices dropping I have been waiting for AvantGo to give up for some time now. When the iPhone ushered in the era of every media outlet from the New York Times to the New Haven Pork Breeders Gazette creating their own branded applications, I knew it was time to begin looking elsewhere for my lunch time reading material. The decision by AvantGo’s parent company, Sybase, to pull the plug on the web content service and move towards SMS marketing is certainly not surprising and likely a good business move…but sad none the less.

June 30th will be the last time I see that happy message “Saving updated Web Pages to your Device…” as I breathlessly await the latest NBA news…though I will miss the ease and user friendly nature of AvantGo for a long time to come.

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