Australian Bluepulse has created a tool that allows users to add features and functions to their cell phones in the same way they customize their personal computers, by downloading and installing pieces of software. Although other methods of tweaking cell phone software have been around for a while, they varied by phone and carrier, and were too complex for the average consumer to actually consider using. Regardless of which phone or carrier they use, consumers can now download Bluepulse’s basic software platform and install widgets (tiny, specialized software applications) that add fun or functional elements to their phone. For example, a widget that alerts them to local traffic conditions, and remembers the route they take to work. Or one that gives easy access to Amazon.com, allowing people to view a friend’s wishlist while they’re ‘real-world’ shopping for a last-minute present. Comparing phones to pc’s makes it clear why this is a major move forward. The first step novice computer users make to personalize their machines, is to change their desktop background, and maybe add a screensaver they’ve downloaded. Comparable to what ringtones and wallpapers are for cell phones. As pc users become more savvy, they start adding software to make computers do what they want to them do, whether it’s installing MSN to chat, Photoshop to work, or Google Earth to explore the world from above. This second step, that most computer users now take for granted, is what Bluepulse makes possible for cell phone users. And just like computer software in recent years, Bluepulse widgets are not necessarily paid-for programs created by huge software companies. Because Bluepulse uses an open platform and offers free development kits, anyone with basic web programming skills can build something functional in a few days, and offer it to other users free or for a charge. This is where we see opportunities for software minipreneurs: by building advanced widgets, and signing up with Bluepulse as a commercial partner, solo programmers can generate revenue. Since Bluepulse works with most modern phones and networks, if a developer creates a widget that catches on, the sky is the limit. (To get started, check out a growing wishlist of widgets that users would like to have.) Indicating that this could really take off, the first user-created Bluepulse community was launched today at www.bpwidgets.com. Don’t miss the boat!