Interview With Mikael Bergkvist, Founder of XinDesk – Your Personal Desktop
We recently had the opportunit to speak with and interview Mikael Bergkvist, founder and leader developer of XinDesk. This company is offering a fantastic opportunity for end users to personalize their desktop, while syncing up files, calendars, contacts and other information where ever they are. Also, they are recently updated their website and public demo, which we hope you enjoy as much as we did. A competitive company called Konfabulator was acquired by Yahoo! last year. Mr. Bergkvist’s technology seems to have the ability to give Konfabulator and Yahoo!’s widgets a run for their money. We hope that you find this interview useful and informative, please comment with any suggestions you may have.
TechAddress: Tell me a bit about your company, what it does and what’s your value proposition?
XinDesk: XIN Company was founded almost a year ago in Sweden. Now we are six employees and hiring. There are two products – Xindesk and Xinteleport.
In one way, developing Xindesk is like developing the computer of the future, only it isn’t a computer, it’s a service. Xindesk is a free, on stop shop solution for making all your files, calendars, contacts and other data accessible and in sync from where ever you are. It’s pretty much like accessing your computer through any standard web browser, from a computer, a mobile phone or any other device connected to the Internet. The goal is to develop an easy digital hub in your more and more mobile life.
The core of Xindesk is a WebOS featuring application that open and save all standard office formats. The WebOS is an open platform, just like Windows and Mac OS. This enables anyone to develop new applications.
Xinteleport is a patented Ajax server side framework with stunning performance upon which Xindesk is built. Xinteleport automates the client side experience and enables users to create their own backups as an infinite series of safe-save reset points, pretty much like the Time Machine feature in Apple’s upcoming Leopard operating system. Xinteleport’s architecture makes the Xindesk much faster and responsive than anything else on the market.
TechAddress: What makes your company stand apart from your competitors?
XinDesk: Xindesk is the first web operating system that just works, even for people without deep computer knowledge. We won’t be satisfied until we offer the same user experience as on your desktop PC or Mac. We don’t have that many competitors, most of them are merely techical demos. The ones we have neither have a usable product nor a working business model.
TechAddress: For are some of the main features?
XinDesk: Xindesk features almost all applications you find on your desktop PC from start, for free. We have developed a File manager with 1 GB storage (through a 3rd party collaboration from start). There’s an Internet Brower with built-in bookmark manager and a stickies application with RSS support. The mail application comes with a free Xinmail account, supporting POP and IMAP4. Of course there’s productivity applications with MS Office support, an address book, a photo viewer and some games. We are also developing an instant messenger with Jabber, AOL/ICQ and MSN support. Another key feature of Xindesk is that it enables the user to share anything – pictures, music or other files, with their colleagues, friends or family.
Most of our users already have a desktop or laptop computer. To make their files and data easily accessible from anywhere we are also developing Sync services for both Windows and Mac [see thumbnail screenshots below]. But the most interesting feature of Xindesk is the fact that it’s an open platform, that anyone can develop for.
TechAddress: Who’s your target customer or audience?
XinDesk: All people who some time in their life have been frustrated not having access to their calendar, a file, a song, a photo, or phone number in a particular moment or location. Students who send documents to themselves using Hotmail from home to school only to find the file was too big and didn’t get through. The office worker who isn’t allowed to install applications or files in his/her work computer. The IT worker with more than one computer finding it hard to keep them all in sync. The traveling salesman who want to do some final edits in a document on an Internet café somewhere in the world before meeting with that important client. The senior citizen who only accesses the Internet from public computers, but still want to store the images his/her grandchildren are sending. We think that there is a latent need among most people for a service like Xindesk.
From start, when we launch the alpha, we are focusing on students and home users. If companies are interested in implementing a Xindesk like system into their existing IT infrastructure this is possible through the Xinteleport product.
TechAddress: Any new things in particular that you’re working on right now?
XinDesk: A first version of Xindesk is pretty much finalized in terms of overall development. Right now we are adding more applications, working on final adjustments of the user interface and working to improve overall speed. Sync services for mac and PC are still in very early alpha, they won’t be released until later.
TechAddress: Where do you see your company heading in the future?
XinDesk: We hope that Xindesk will be the standard WebOS platforms as soon it’s released, both from the computer and from the mobile phone. There are also other interesting aspects of Xindesk. In a more and more fragmented media landscape it’s harder and harder for corporations to reach their target groups. Xindesk will be very innovative in terms of how marketing is integrated into the service. We already have commitments from major global corporations to try these new, exciting advertising formats.
TechAddress: Any negative feedback or criticism regarding technology and services?
XinDesk: In general, if you mean regarding our service we have none. We have a couple of thousand pre registrants, but since the service isn’t released yet we haven’t gotten any. When we are testing Xindesk on focus groups we of course get some feedback, but this only helps us to build a more easy to use and more solid service.
TechAddress: So what would you say is the guiding principle behind your company?
XinDesk: We are developing services with people who generally aren’t that computer or tech savvy in mind. We won’t be satisfied until we deliver the same ease/fun of use and sleekness as Mac OS X. But in our own way of course. We won’t release anything before it’s exceeding our target group’s expectations – and our own.
TechAddress: What is the mission of your company and what are you bringing to the market that is innovative?
XinDesk: As our lifes become more and more mobile, personal computers are still based on the idea of single location usage. You are limited to have your files in one computer, in one place. We are in one way developing the computer of the future, only it isn’t a computer, it’s a service. Our mission is to help people be more productive and have more fun in this new, digital landscape.
TechAddress: Where are you in terms of funding and your lifecycle?
XinDesk: We were founded a year ago and have funded our selves since the start. In a couple of months we’ll start looking for more long term funding.
TechAddress: If your technology or service is not formally launched yet, when’s the launch date?
XinDesk: An alpha version with limited functionality will be launched to a limited amount of people before the end of the year.
Click thumbnails for larger screenshot examples on both Windows and Mac systems.
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