Telecom Giant Vodafone Gets Into Location Based Social Networking With Pocket Life

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Pocket Life, a geo-aware social network backed by mobile network giant Vodafone, has launched to the public. The service allows users to update their friends on their current locations automatically, and also allows them to syndicate status updates and their recent activities to popular social networks like Facebook and MySpace. You can also use GPS to create a route (say, for mountain biking or hiking) and share that with friends over the network.

At launch Pocket Life is compatible with over 30 phones, including a number of Blackberries, Nokias, and Samsungs, with the iPhone listed as “Coming Soon” (you can see the full compatibility list here). If you have a compatible phone, you can download the software by visiting http://mob.pocketlife.com from your phone’s browser. You can also use the site from your computer at PocketLife.com, though this doesn’t feature automatic location updates. To get a feel for more of the site’s features, check out the walkthrough video.

Pocket Life has many similarities with other geo-aware social networks like Whrrl, Limbo, and Loopt, which recently signed a deal to become available on every mobile carrier in the US. Pocket Life is getting a late start, but with giants like Facebook and MySpace largely sitting on the sidelines in the race to take social networks mobile, it still has a fighting chance, especially given its backers.

Vodafone is the largest telecommunications network company in the world, with huge mobile market shares in many countries (it also owns minority stakes in some large mobile companies, with a 45% stake in Verizon). If its phones started to carry Pocket Life as a default application, it could easily overwhelm its competitors in many regions.

Disclosure: Pocket Life competitor Loopt is in the middle of a patent litigation suit that we’ve been dragged into, and they’ve also created a TechCrunch-branded Loopt iPhone app.

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