Shorthand Blog

What's in a name?

Changing our name was much easier said than done.  We went through brainstorming, mindmaps and a branding firm to come up with a new name. It was all for naught.  If we found something we liked, inevitably it was already taken.  If we found something we loved and it was available, the URL was not.  We tried bad puns, made-up words, "clever" names and metaphors.

After 6 months of deliberations and at wit's end, we were ready to give up.  And that's when it hit us.  Our SMS Apps are the equivalent of shorthand ("a method of rapid writing by means of abbreviations and symbols") for Facebook, Google and other web services.  We liked the word "short" since it spoke to the benefit of fewer clicks to get where you want, and we liked "hand" because it evoked "handset" and "texting."  It was the perfect combination. 

And that is how we got the name "Shorthand."

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Why Another App Store?

Apple. Windows Mobile.  Blackberry.  Nokia.  AT&T. Verizon.  It seems everyone these days has an app store for mobile handsets.  Apps are a great solution to the clumsy mobile web-browsing experience.  But they're a solution that can only be delivered through the data channel.  And, more often than not, their corresponding App Store usually only works with one carrier, one handset manufacturer, or one mobile platform.  Shorthand was born of the idea that every mobile user -- whether their phone is data-ready or not and whether they are data plan-ready or not -- should have access to the mobile data they want. 

Shorthand's founder, John McDonough, realized the most ubiquitous mobile channel, other than voice, was SMS.  So he built the Shorthand SMS browser to leverage that channel and deliver Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon, Netflix and others no matter where a mobile user was or what handset they had.

Even in these goldrush-like days of the Apple App Store, there are still only X% of U.S. mobile customers with a data plan.  In fact, Nielsen projects that X% of US mobile subscribers use text messaging regularly and X% have texting plans.  That number's growing year over year. So although most of the attention in the mobile world has focused on mobile apps for this minority, we're hoping to bring apps to the majority, with an app store for the rest of us.

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