NEW YORK—There are operating systems for your computer (Mac, Windows, Chrome) and operating systems for your phone (Android, iOS, W—indows). Now, a San Francisco startup just emerging from stealth mode called Cola has designed an operating system around texting.
It’s called Messaging OS, and it launches today in private beta, with the goal to give people complete access to smartphone functions while they are in the middle of a text conversation, without them having to leave that conversation.
It does this through interactive so-called “Cola Bubbles” which pop up inside a messaging thread.
Here’s a common scenario: You want to arrange a lunch gathering with friends. So you text your pals, “When can we meet?”
From within the Cola app, and without you having to separately consult your calendar, you can check off (up to three) times when you’re available. After hitting send, all the recipients will immediately see your availability, and can in turn pick the times that work for them. Everything gets updated on the spot.
Cola Bubbles can also display everyone’s location on a map (at designated times, with permission). And they be used to track a flight or a shared to-do list (what might everyone bring to that lunch?).
You can check out a demo of the app here.
For now, the Cola app is only available on iOS. But Cola can leverage standard SMS technology to let you text people who don’t have iOS devices and/or the Cola app.
Cola CEO David Temkin designed Cola to look just like the built in Messaging app on the iPhone, making it a cinch to send messages to your contacts. “You already know how to use it,” he says.
Of course, Cola faces challenges, none bigger than having to persuade folks to check out the new app in the first place. Given all the other texting and messaging options, including the phone’s own native app, that won’t be easy.
Temkin says the average person has 2.8 such apps beyond the built in Messaging app on their phones.
But there’s promise here too. Cola is opening up the Cola Bubbles idea to developers. And the startup comes out of stealth with $1.3 million in seed money.
Naval Ravikant led the funding round, with participation from Tribeca Angels and Ravikant’s AngelList syndicate. Prominent investors include AOL founder Steve Case, and Brad Garlinghouse.
Meanwhile, members of the Cola founding team have their own tech pedigrees. Temkin used to work at Apple and was the founder of Laszlo Systems and the onetime GM of AOL Mobile and Mail. Another member, Marc Canter, was the founder of Macromedia.
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1iXA59x