Business, Finance & Economics

New 'Cloud OS' brings apps to non-smartphones


NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 13: Host Lisa Kudrow speaks onstage during the 15th Annual Webby Awards at Hammerstein Ballroom on June 13, 2011 in New York City. Applications such as Angry Birds will be available through Blaast's new cloud system.


Jamie McCarthy

MALMO, Sweden — A Finnish start-up launching Wednesday aims to offer apps to the more than a billion consumers worldwide who don’t own smartphones.

Blaast, which describes itself as “the world's first cloud-based mobile platform,” is launching in Jakarta, Indonesia, in partnership with XL, a local mobile phone provider with about 40 million subscribers.

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Blaast’s operating system allows internet-connected “dumb phones” to run apps like smartphones do, doing most of the operations in “the cloud,” using servers based all over the world.

Customers will pay a flat 15,000 Indonesian rupiahs (€1.28) a month for the service, which will allow them to subscribe to an unlimited number of apps such as Facebook, Angry Birds, maps and others.

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Blaast, XL, and individual app developers will share payments based on how much time an app is used for. Blaast’s Indonesian website estimates that app developers would receive $460,000 a month for one million users.

The founder, Joonas Hjelt, is a former Nokia executive. The project's initial funding came from Pekka Vartiainen, the former head of Nokia Mobile Phones Americas, Ambient Sound, a venture capitalist firm founded by four of the engineers who launched Skype, and the Finnish government’s Vigo program.

Finland's Foreign Minister, Alex Stubb, has flown to Jakarta to attend the launch.

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