We have mentioned Funambol a few times around here. TechCrunch got details that Funambol has raised 12.5 million in financing which means that Funambol is sticking around for now. It also means that analysts and venture capitalists think that Funambol is on to something.
I tried their free My Funambol free contacts/calendar sync service and was not that impressed. On the other hand it was free. The open source nature of the product makes for an interesting model. Instead of selling the software to users they plan on licensing it to carriers.
For example AOL will be using Funambol to sync mobile and online messages on certain phones. I wonder how that will translate for the BlackBerry? Will Funambol try to convince US carriers to offer free BES-like services. They also seem to be moving into advertising by offering free sync services in return for viewing a few advertisement emails.
RIM could really close the door on Funambol if they just created a Outlook sync plugin for BlackBerry Unite. Not to mention releasing it to other countries and carriers. BlackBerry Unite has so much potential…
I wonder if Funambol will continue working to improve their BlackBerry client. As it stands it is pretty bare bones.