[Disclaimer: this post is about some work my company did. So you can't expect anything unbiased in here ;)]

So... one big thing I didn't get to write about last week was Trutap going into beta at the TechCrunch conference in the US. We've been working on the product all year; a lot of sweat's gone into it (and there's more on the way), so it's good to be able to talk publicly (ish) about it now.

The eponymously named product is designed for 18-24 year olds: the generation whose social life is half-lived online, and who don't currently have a way of taking all that digital stuff with them. It's a feature-packed beast: a Java application ported to a wide range of handsets (which we're adding to over time) that pulls together instant messaging, blogging, management of contacts and its own messaging infrastructure into a coherent whole. Working closely with a team at Trutap (Neé Hotxt), we designed the product from an interaction and visual perspective and built the on-phone client; in parallel with this a team of code ninjas at Trutap built the back-end and did all the heavy infrastructure work.

Scale-wise it's the largest thing we've ever built, along almost every axis: time, team size, complexity, capability, and application size. Like everything we do in J2ME, the product is built on a foundation our Cactus platform provides for rapid mobile development, and the dev team have pushed it further than ever before: Trutap has an almost Flash-like in appearance (particularly some of the private builds we have which contain a few additional tweaks). We've done a lot of hard work on communications, optimisation and storage too - not all of which is immediately visible, or launched yet. If I can get permission I might write a post detailing some of the ways we've squeezed this into contemporary handsets, or about the development process: lots of lessons learned there across the board, but all behind the obligatory NDA.

And experience-wise it's slick; my favourite part is the in-built IM client which is gorgeous, dirt simple, and lets you handle simultaneous chats across all your different IM accounts (Yahoo!, MSN, Jabber and ICQ - with more to follow)... and nicest of all you can do this whilst updating your blog, managing your contacts, or messaging.

The product isn't finished yet: we've a busy month ahead getting ready for a full UK launch, and even after then we've a roadmap for further development. But a big "yay!" to the team at Future Platforms (Miss Lozdan and Messrs Hopper, Franglen, Skinner, Ribot, and Falletti: that's you) who've made this possible, and are carrying on the good work :)

(If you're interested in getting onto the pre-launch beta, drop me an email and I'll let you know a super secret beta code you can use. Or check out the demos online if you like.)