KeyToss (m.keytoss.com) describes itself as a “Powerful, personalizable portal for smartphones“. I think that’s a pretty good description. The default KeyToss home page shows a search box offering a choice of search engines, current weather forecast, recent sports scores, stock quotes, a section of news headlines and about 20 well chosen links to frequently used information like movie show times and flight status.
KeyToss is highly customizable. without even registering, users can change their location and favorite teams, choose which mobile links and search engines are displayed and add content from a list of 40 preselected RSS feeds. These changes are saved with a cookie. Registered users can make further customizations like adding pages and choosing from over 600 feeds on KeyToss’ full web site. You can customize how each feed is displayed including whether to display summaries or just headlines, the number of items to show and whether external content should be transcoded. The choice of feeds does seems to be limited to the 600 preselected ones. Although KeyToss says “Is there a website or blog that you’d like to see? If it has an RSS or Atom news feed, you can add it yourself”, I could not find any way to add arbitrary feeds. Update: once recieved and responded to the registration email (it was delayed over three hours), I could add feeds.
Something that makes KeyToss unique among mobile portals is that it acts as a location broker. When you access location aware sites through the KeyToss portal, your current location is passed to the site. It’s not GPS, you do have to set your location manually in KeyToss, and it’s only grandular down to the city name for international locations or zip code for US ones, but is a real timesaver to not have to enter your location on Google Local, Yelp or jWire‘s WiFi finder. I’d like to see KeyToss integrate this functionality with Yahoo’s FireEagle, which when combined with Navizon, can pass GPS or cell tower location through an API.
KeyToss also has a download repository, you can upload content to KeyToss from a PC and downlaod it to your mobile.
The KeyToss mobile site is clearly intended for handsets with relatively large screens. They do say “for smartphones” after all. Layout is optimized for devices with 320px wide screens like Treos, Blackberries and QVGA devices in landscape orientation. It’s a fluid rather than a fixed width design using
max-width : 306. The site’s formatting holds up well on 240px wide screens but starts to break up or require horizontal scrolling on anything smaller. KeyToss’ memory requirements are modest, under 20 KB for the default homepage, so it loads fast and is responsive even on most dumbhone browsers.
I’m quite impressed by KeyToss. It’s always nice when a startup comes up with something that rivals the big boys like Google and Yahoo. So how does KeyToss compare with the mobile version of iGoogle?
Key Toss Pros:
- iGoogle for mobile (unlike the full and iPhone versions) is quite limited in the gadgets you can add. For example, you are restricted to Google Search and Google Stock Quotes, KeyToss offers many alternate search engines and Yahoo or Market Watch quotes.
- KeyToss offers links to a range of 3rd party mobile sites, Google doesn’t.
- KeyToss lets you share your location with third party sites.
- KeyToss has a sports scores module which mobile iGoogle lacks.
- On the target devices I think KeyToss is more attractive and has a little better usability than Google.
- Google can display your unread gMail headers right on the portal, with KeyToss you have to click through to the site.
- Integration with Google Reader means feeds are synchronized across mobile and PC.
- IGoogle optimizes the display and feature set for various devices. It works well on anything from a RAZR to the iPhone. KeyToss’ “one size fits all” design scales surprisingly well but is at it’s best on the smartphones it’s optimized for.
Overall it’s a tossup. I’d say KeyToss wins if you have a Treo or Blackberry or if seeing sports scores at a glance is a priory for you. On the other hand, If you live in gMail and Google Reader or your phone has a small screen or really lousy browser, iGoogle is a better choice.
Opinions? If you use a customizable mobile portal like iGoogle, KeyToss or something else, we’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment.
Mobile Link: m.keytoss.com
Ratings: Content: Usability:
Filed in: Mobile Site Directory – Portals