How many times have you sat down with your overpriced Starbucks soy latte and the internet couldn’t connect? Apparently too many times, because Starbucks decided to do something about it. In an official press release, Starbucks got rid of T-Mobile and announced plans to deliver AT&T Wi-FiSM service at more than 7,000 company-operated Starbucks locations across the United States. 12 million Starbuck customers are about to get an upgraded internet experience, and AT&T instantly became a major player in the wifi arena.
Moving on to Israel-related news, WeFi, an Israeli startup that launched almost two years ago, has released both Windows Mobile and Facebook applications today. The Windows Mobile application allows access to WeFi’s free Wi-Fi network from your PDA, and the Facebook application is a GPS tracking device – well, sort of. It lets you see your friends’ location in real time.
WeFi is the creator of the world’s first open and free global Wi-Fi network
WeFi aims to provide easy access to Wifi networks by mapping all the hotspots everywhere. Founded by Yossi Vardi, Arnon Kohavi and Shimon Scherzer, WeFi has received significant funding: $7.35 million from Lightspeed Ventures, Pitango and Gemini. Wefi is headquartered in Mountain View and with an R&D center in Tel Aviv. Competitors include Meraki, Fon and Whisher.
You can download WeFi here.
See WeFi’s official announcement below:
Delaware, USA, February 11th 2008: WeFi Inc. (www.wefi.com), creator of the first open, community-based global Wi-Fi network, announced today their move into the mobile world with the launch of their software for Windows Mobile.
WeFi members can now gain fast, automatic and free access to all open Wi-Fi hotspots on smartphones, pocket PCs and other portable media centers based on Windows Mobile operating system, in addition to their Windows and Mac based laptops.WeFi also announced that their software is now available on Facebook, called the ‘I am Here Now’ application, enabling co-Facebook-WeFi members to locate their friends on the WeFi map of Wi-Fi access points – in real-time.
The WeFi application on Facebook further cements the global social networking trend, as the first of its kind in enabling real-time location of all your friends, anywhere and everywhere around the world through their Wi-Fi connection. Existing WeFi laptop users are equipped with instant messaging tools and additional community features, to help them communicate with their friends.WeFi brings free Wi-Fi communication to everyone, everywhere with easy-to-use downloadable software that enables automatic connection to the fastest Wi-Fi hotspot around. Members of the WeFi community are invited to map out open hotspots in any given location worldwide, forming an aggregate picture of all the available Wi-Fi connections.
Zur Feldman, CEO of WeFi and a former partner at Pitango, commented:“WeFi are taking Wi-Fi communication to the next generation, building a global community of people that support open Wi-Fi networks, are social networking savvy and want free and high performance internet access anytime, anywhere and on any application.”
WeFi will be exhibiting at the forthcoming World Mobile Congress in Barcelona from the 11th to 14th February 2006 at the IMA Pavilion located in Hall 4 – Level 1 – WeFi booth N# 5.