One or more versions of a Second Life client for mobile phones is being tested currently. It seems like we will see Second Life on our phones very, very soon.
I was contacted in-world by a recruiter for a company that is creating a mobile version of Second Life. The recruiter is hiring testers to come to Redwood Shores in Redwood City, CA this week. The initial test date was supposed to be tomorrow, but has been moved to Friday, May 30th.
The focus group is paying $15USD per hour for 5 hours of testing, from 10am to 2pm.
Unfortunately I have other pressing obligations on Friday (work) and had to pass on the opportunity. On an interesting note though, I had asked about what phones the software was being tested on.
Me: I would like to but I have to work on Tuesday. Looking forward to seeing it come out. What kind of phone is it working on?
Recruiter: The Mobile Focus Group is on Wednesday. The testing will be on multiple phones.
(Note that the change from Wednesday to Friday occurred after this.)
I highly suspect the company that is commissioning the focus group is Comverse Technology or Vollee. Comverse made news in February when they demoed an early version of a Java-based client that ran on Java-capable phones. In the last few days, confirmation has also come from Volle that they will be offering their own Second Life mobile client.
Finally, just a bit of hopeful supposition on my part. Apple released its iPhone SDK to developers several months ago and will be opening up the floodgates of 3rd party apps in a couple of weeks. In early June the next version of the iPhone will be released, featuring 3G speed, an updated operating system, and possibly faster hardware.
If an iPhone-capable version of Java is to soon be released then we may see the optimal platform for mobile Second Life. While it will be possible to use many kinds of phones and mobile devices with the upcoming Java client, the iPhone may very well prove to be the optimal device for an engaging Second Life experience away from the desktop and notebook.