New things eventually become old. Such is the case of web clipping service AvantGo.
After syncing my Palm Centro earlier this week, I was surprised and saddened to see this message: “Starting June 30, AvantGo will no longer offer mobile Web content.”
The linked announcement page further said: “Subscribers will not be able to sync their AvantGo accounts or update their channels.”
AvantGo is a service that allows PDA and mobile phone users to download mobile Web content for offline reading later on. Whenever I sync my Palm Centro to my Internet-connected desktop or laptop PC, AvantGo gets and stores pages from the New York Times, Inquirer, and Sproule Handheld Cartoons to my mobile device. I am then able to read these content whenever and wherever I want: while in the MRT, on my bed, or even in the bathroom.
But as Internet access became cheaper and more mobile — especially in the US where telcos offer unlimited GPRS or 3G — AvantGo yielded to obsolescence. Why would users want to read this morning’s breaking news which was saved on the device earlier, when they can check the newest updates at this very moment?
AvantGo also offers real-time mobile Web surfing when one’s mobile device is connected to the Internet. However, the same can be done easier and faster with mobile browsers like Opera Mini and Safari for iPhone. In addition, new mobile Web portals such as Yahoo Mobile offer great RSS aggregation smilar to what AvantGo allows. It is therefore not surprising that Sybase, AvantGo’s parent company, arrived at this decision.
AvantGo may still matter to some users in countries like the Philippines, where there is no unlimited Internet access via cellphone and WiFi services are just starting to grow, but it may no longer be as important to the bulk of its subscribers in the US.
AvantGo recommended a similar service called Snac, but the mobile widget application is not available to Palm users.