Launching Omny, the personal radio app powered by Windows Azure

If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been posting nearly as much as I used to over the past year. Partly it’s because I’ve been playing a lot of DOTA2 (or the Drow Ranger game as I’ve come to play it), but more seriously it’s because I’ve been working at my startup to revolutionise how people listen to the radio on a mobile device.

I know the word “revolutionise” is very much a cliché for tech startups but I do think we’ve come up with an easier, more interactive, and all around better way for the busy mobile individual to listen to news, entertainment, music and important updates on the go.

It’s called Omny and it’s available free on the Australian App Store starting today. To get a quick overview, here’s a quick video we made.

I know what you’re thinking. Yes it is coming to the US (and other countries around the world) as well as Android and Windows Phone. Truth be told, we’re a small team and we wanted to make sure it at least works awesomely for some people rather than not so well for a lot of people.

Some of you might remember an app I launched last year called SoundGecko, which is a text-to-speech reading service for websites and RSS feeds. Omny expands on that idea to provide a more diverse range of content such as professional radio shows, podcasts and music through Spotify, Rdio, Songl and iTunes.

The two products share a similar goal though, to let mobile users stay informed and up-to-date on the go using their ears instead of just their eyes. Some people have called it the “Flipboard for your ears”.

At the backend, Omny is powered almost entirely by Windows Azure. We perform all the services integration (fetching Facebook feeds & notifications, emails from Gmail and Outlook, calendar from Google Calendar, weather and more in the future) in the cloud as well as algorithmically picking the best content that each user might like.

Right now, the app has access to a decent range of content across all topics and integration to some third party services but we plan on continuously expanding and improving the “library” by adding more over time. In fact we’ve even designed the system to be extensible by third parties but that’s for a later time. As a quick teaser for the developers amongst you, one weekend I quickly hacked together an integration for Omny that lets me listen to service delays on the train lines I travel on in Melbourne.

I hope my Aussie readers will get a chance to try out Omny. I would love to hear what you all think.

4 insightful thoughts

  1. Haha, I found the same problem too. Your first link to Omny goes to some guy’s blog which resulted in some confusion.

    Regardless, it’s an interesting product idea. Are you planning to build a Windows Phone version?

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