Dashwire CEO Ford Davidson Talks Financing, Apple Vs. Android, and the Future of Smartphone Syncing in a “Market That’s on Fire”

8/18/10

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Best Buy, offering its services through a platform called mIQ, and it has another deal in the works. This year the company is on track to pass an important milestone, according to Davidson.

“We’re going to do about a million dollars in revenue this year, which is fantastic,” he says. “In past years we didn’t make any revenue. Last year I think we had a very small amount of revenue. We moved to the licensing model, but we hadn’t shifted any products yet. We shipped the Best Buy product. We’re about to ship another product. So we think this model has a great trajectory.”

But one thing hasn’t changed—the company’s services are still free for consumers, whether you download the free Mobile Best Buy version, or participate in Dashwire Labs’ direct-to-consumer service, Awesome Drop. The Drop platform allows consumers to take any file they have on their computer, and have it wirelessly transferred to their mobile device so that they can access it from anywhere. The new initiative is a way for Dashwire to continue to expand its services and test out new functionalities.

“The goal with the labs initiative is to really be nimble in getting products out there and iterate on those products based on consumer feedback—take those learnings and bring it back into the product suite that’s licensable to different companies in the industry,” Davidson says. “The feedback that we’re getting is helping us to improve that overall platform offering that we then improve to our licensees.”

Dashwire services are currently available for BlackBerry, S60 (Symbian), Windows Mobile, and Android phones. The products are not, however, available on the iPhone platform. And while you can transfer music via Dashwire’s apps, they do not yet integrate with iTunes, something that Davidson says is a top request among customers, as iTunes is a popular music library management program for both Mac and PC users. So why doesn’t Dashwire integrate with the iTunes, iPhone family? It all comes down to the market climate.

“Basically what’s happened is there is like a mass movement into smartphones. Because more and more people are buying these devices, they’re buying them from different operators. Some of those people are moving from Blackberry phone to Android phone, and for us, this is all great, because we support different phone platforms—that allows people to migrate content from different phone services, and it allows us to help get their phone set up,” Davidson says. “What you’re seeing today is more migration from a Windows phone or a Blackberry phone into an Android phone, and less people emigrating from an iPhone. Apple users are pretty loyal, and the number of Android users on AT&T are pretty small.”

But that doesn’t mean they’re untouchable. The iPhone user, of course, is still a valuable market for mobile companies to try to tap. However, the rise of Android, the open-source operating system that has spawned a Google-powered app store, has grabbed the attention of developers and consumers. While Android is on the rise, more developers have started to move from the iPhone app store, which … Next Page »

Thea Chard is a correspondent for Xconomy Seattle. You can e-mail her at theachard@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/theachard. Follow @

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