Pogo was a UK based mobile startup. It began as a research and development project at the London office of Razorfish. The company developed and launched a web browsing tablet in 2002. Pre-dating the Apple iPhone by 5 years. The mobile standard of the day was WAP. Pogo was a mobile touch screen device, optimised for full web browsing, at high speed over GSM and GPRS.
The device received wide media coverage upon launch. There were spreads in all the major UK newspapers. All the computer and technology magazines (Create Online, T3, Stuff). And lifestyle magazines (Revolution, Loaded, FHM, Wallpaper, GQ, Elle, Maxim ). It also received TV feature spots on CNN, Bloomberg and the BBC's Tomorrows World.
- GSM Association awards:
Highly commended best new handset
- Mobile News awards:
Commendation for Technological advance
- Mobile Choice awards:
Shortlisted for Best Entertainment Device
- IF Design awards:
Bronze award for Product Design
What I worked on
I worked on the User Interface team. We developed a suite of touch screen enabled, phone, web and PIM applications to ship with the device.
The OS team had ported the Flash 4 Player to the Pogo operating system. This got us in trouble with Macromedia, but that's another story. After launch I helped evangelise the Pogo within the Flash developer community.
When I started at Pogo, Flash was still in its infancy. My three years of expertise somehow warranted the title of Senior Developer . I wrote the phone app and few other applications. My principle contribution was improving the performance of our apps. We worked hard to ship optimised Flash 4 Actionscript that would still run well on a 65Mhz processor.
What I learned
Seeing your work on the cover of magazines and on TV is cool. Not going to lie. But critical acclaim doesn't always equate to sales. We were too early to the market. People didn't yet know they wanted mobile web browsing.
A small energised team can achieve a lot. Pogo built hardware, software and middleware. They had people for QA, sales etc, yet the head count rarely got above 30.
With great power comes great responsibility. Full control over device UI comes with great responsibility. You can and should change your boot screen to say Don't Panic (in large friendly letters) when you turn it on.
The power of the physical, in a virtual world. Pogo might be 20 years old but I still take it to technical interviews. It's amazing how much the mood shifts when you have something physical to hand around.