I remember being interested in their previous (and still going strong) product, mobizines (Scott describes mippin as mobizines on steroids) but was put off by the restricted content available and the java client. These Refresh guys have taken the good idea from it – we want to be able to read cool stuff as easily on the phone as you do on your desktop – but they’ve moved away from the horrors of transcoding a 15″ experience in its entirety down to a variety of small mobile screens and gone for the fact that most sites already produce content in a presentation-independent form – their RSS feed.
As a service, you can look at it two ways – as a “publisher” I get to include my RSS feed in their database, then if I want to I can opt to splice ads into the feed (in the same way that feedburner does) from which Mippin takes a small cut. Bigger publishers will want to customise the way that their feed is displayed and they can do this too.
As a “user” I can subscribe to the feeds I want and I can search for terms (or URLs) to find new stuff – so for example putting the URL for this blog into the search box returns a picture and title and a link for each post. A click on the link takes me to an uncluttered version of the post. Perhaps a little too uncluttered – the links have been stripped. But there is another link there to go to the original post (and you can pass it on by mail, sms or twitter – nice) There’s a kind of history page too so I can go to my regular reads. I see it primarily as an RSS reader for my phone. So of course my feature requests are to make it behave a bit more like an aggregator – I’d like a river of news view. I’d like to be able to define groups of subscriptions and get a river of news from each. I’d also like to be able to turn off ads, oh yes and I’d also like a zeitgeist tagcloud to be able to see what’s hot. Scott was boasting that moving from downloadable client to browser meant that their development times have been slashed, so I expect to see my requests implemented well before Christmas :)
As an aside, the experience is still dependent on the browser though – I want a really good free browser for my Windows Mobile Smartphone – IE just doesn’t cut the mustard, although I’m also tempted by a Nokia 800 or an iTouch.