This month marks the 10th anniversary of the Personal Digital Assistant and a decade of Enfour developing software for mobile platforms. That’s right, Enfour was the first company to develop commerical software for PDAs (back then the Newton) but now for all platforms. In fact, Enfour, Inc. was spun-off from Enfour Media Laboratory specifically to pursue development of software for handheld computers.
It has been an interesting decade and we have all grown with the changes. Back then there was no talk of the Internet and almost no one had a mobile phone. There was talk of convergence, but no one really saw where things were going. Enfour has tried to lead theway, by creating software that is meaningful in a mobile setting. Enfour brought PDAs and SmartPhones into the markets where the need was greatest. We carved out new niches and shown people the meaning of personal mobile computing. Our aim has been to turn these devices in useful tools rather than toys.
We have helped them become communication devices and inseparable lifestyle items. Starting with a fusion fashion show of clothes mobile phones and PDAs in 1995 and the opening of one of the first speciality stores in 1996 -”The Newton Shop” in the Ginza (later to become”PX Store” in Shinjuku), Enfour has tried to move beyond the geek set and explore each new horision as they appear.
Richard Northcott, President of Enfour reflects, “It was obvious to me, even back then, that the desktop PC was reaching a logical conclusion and future of computing was to be mobile. Instead of lining up to buy a Newton with everyone else, I went to buy the SDK first. I knew that Enfour’s role would be developing the solutions that bring reality to the hype. Well, there is a lot more reality now, but still a lot more work tobe done.”
Creating personal, functional, enabling solutions for everybody, our theme has been to breakdown the barriers between humans and machines; to be mutli-platform and multilingual. It seems that we still have a ways to go before we reach anything like a goal, but the progress has been great. The integrated devices and service convergence we are seeing now has given us a whole new level to start from. The PDA became a niche product within the PCworld, but the smart-phone is the computing device “for-the-rest-of-us.” The future we saw back 10 years ago is just now coming into reality for the majority of people. We believe that the next 10 years will be an even more exciting time and that the greater population of the World will benefit from even more advances in the mobile arena.
About Enfour, Inc.
Enfour, Inc. is a Tokyo-based specialist in multilingual text handling, communicationssoftware and imaging for mobile systems. Enfour has been creating Asian languagesolutions, development tools and packaged software for nearly every handheld computerplatform since 1994.Focusing on mobile phone development and online content, Enfour isworking with smart-phone manufacturers and mobile carriers to create integrated solutionsfor consumers in emerging markets.
Enfour’s International contact: Tracey Northcott tracey [at] enfour.co.jp