AmAze’s free navigation and local search service is the winner of smartphone-biz.news’ Product of the Year 2008 award.
With 41 per cent of the nominations, the turn-by-turn GPS program was the clear winner in a field that included Fring, mobile messaging service Nimbuzz and cellular fixed mobile convergence solution OnRelay MBX.
AmAze has carved out a strong position for itself with its wide coverage of maps, including aerial photo in Europe, North America, Australia and parts of Asia and Africa.
In collecting the most votes amAze also got some strong endorsements from readers who universally praised the service for its features and usability.
One user described it as an "amazing free GPS tool – kicks dust into the expensive and cumbersome to update Garmin and other GPS services".
Another said it was "just as good, if not better, than pricey GPS programs", while someone else said the GPS navigation "looks really great…and is FREE. It doesn’t get any better".
Runner-up Nimbuzz took 20 per cent of the votes and also earned some enthusiastic admiration from readers who praised its services in the crowded mobile IM client space – "Nimbuzz stands out for it’s stability, well thought out interface and impressive network support," said one voter.
"Smart connection options certainly don’t hurt the product either".
Nimbuzz is targeting mobile users and online communities with free calls, chat and more.
The "more" includes free mobile VoIP calling (excluding data charges), conference calling, instant messaging, chat and group chat, and photo and file sending across multiple IM communities, including Skype, MSN, Google Talk, Yahoo, AIM, Jabber and ICQ, plus 23 social networks, including Facebook and Myspace.
Nimbuzz’s ability to "go beyond Skype" is a major appeal. One reader said: "I have tried many mobile instant messaging solutions, and Nimbuzz does everything I expect it to, does it well, keeps improving, and is free."
Coming in third in the competition with 12 per cent of the vote was Fring, the mobile internet community and communication service.
As well as its social appeal, Fring also lets users make affordable local and international calls to landline and regular cellular numbers using a SkypeOut/SkypeIn account or almost any internet voice service (SIP) such as SIPNET, EuteliaVoIP, VoIPVoIP and VoIPTalk, including from non-SIP enabled handsets.
Among the voters’ praise for Fring was the fact the "wonderful application…keeps me available to my boss, colleagues and friends always".
Others congratulated Fring for "supporting different VoiP providers in a single tool which can be installed in several mobile platforms", and described it as "the best software enabling you to keep in touch with all IM buddies as well as enabling you to make Voip/Sip calls".
"It’s simple and easy to use and works well," explained a user. "Unlike similar applications it truly offers choice and freedom and is totally free. There is also free web support, free and interesting add-ons and a thriving online community."
The fourth placed product with 9 per cent of the vote was OnRelay with its pioneering mobile PBX – the first global private mobile branch exchange, OnRelay MBX.
It offers enterprises and operators a seamless Cellular Fixed Mobile Convergence solution and has commercial deployments in Tier 1 operators and Fortune 500 companies.
The groundbreaking architecture has enabled OnRelay to claim to be the only cellular based FMC solution on the market able to completely replace desk phones, creating a "mobile only PBX" to disrupt the hardware intensive VoIP and WiFi markets.
Readers described it as "the coolest thing ever – one phone does all", "the most innovative and exciting product on the market" and said "the addition of MBX to your professional life is transformative".
One voter said: "The beauty of the smartphone is that they can save companies money because they can be used for several things.
"In OnRelay’s case – customers can also replace deskphones with smartphones – a huge opportunity in this bear market.
"Also a big opportunity for smartphone vendors to sell more smartphones."
The top four entries saw off competition from a wide-ranging field of companies, including JaJah, Octrotalk, Orblive, Handyshell, Beejive IM, DinnerSpinner, MobiExplore and the N-Gage platform.
Smartphone-biz.news would like to thank everyone who took the effort to nominate a product and to cast a vote.