Lab confirms “SL mobile” beta programme

secondlife

Update October 26th: As noted in the comments, it appears that the new client may be using the OnLive streaming service / application. This has been reported in a recent comment on the forum thread linked to in the article, and also in a further thread on the subject.

Linden Lab has been issuing an e-mail to a limited group of users inviting them to sign-up to be a part of a beta test for a Second Life client for mobile devices.

The e-mail, which has been popping-up in user’s in-boxes for the last day or so, reads:

We’re looking for enthusiastic beta testers to evaluate a version of Second Life designed for mobile devices.

Sound interesting? Then simply…

  1. Visit  [link removed] to create a FREE account with <link removed to be safe>, then
  2. Visit  [link removed] to complete a 5-minute questionnaire

You have to finish both steps to be considered for the beta.

We’ll email those selected when the program begins and check in periodically over the next couple of months to get their feedback. 

This is your opportunity to be among the first to try a new mobile version of Second Life, and we hope you’ll help us to make it a great product with your input.

Thank you for your consideration!

Linden Lab

Some concern had been raised on the SL forums as to whether the e-mail was genuine or not. While some were able to confirm it was indeed genuine. However, just to be clear, I contacted Peter Gray, the Lab’s Director of Global Communications, and to ask whether the Lab would be prepared to point to any specific platforms they’re looking at (iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, etc). He replied saying:

The email you’re referencing did indeed come from Linden Lab. The originating address is related to the system used to send the messages out, and there was initially an unfortunate problem with links, which has since been resolved.

It’s too soon to share details about this service that would bring Second Life to mobile devices (as you can see, we’re beginning a limited beta test), but we’re hoping that with the help of some enthusiastic beta testers, things may progress to a point where we can share more information with the community at large soon.

Do note that the beta programme is via invitation only; there is no public sign-up page available – so don’t go looking for one! Also, not all of those responding to the e-mail will necessarily be selected to participate in the programme.

Lumiya for Android has been the ground-breaking mobile client for Second Life and OpenSim since its launch at the end of 2011
Lumiya for Android has been the ground-breaking mobile client for Second Life and OpenSim since its launch at the end of 2011

Getting SL onto a mobile device has been a much demanded option. As I reported in April 2012, Comverse had a stab at getting SL onto the iPhone back in 2008, complete with graphics. Back then, it required an intervening server in place and didn’t get too much further than an initial proof-of-concept.

However, mobile devices have come some way in terms of power and capbilities, although until now all moves in the mobile arena have been left to third-parties, with text-focused clients such as LittleSight and Mobile Grid Client on the Android platform, and Pocket Metaverse on iOS, and of course the incredible Lumiya for Android with its rich graphical capabilities and which I routinely cover in these pages.

It’ll be interesting to see exactly what the Lab have put together, and the code they’ve used – home-built, or perhaps using something like Unity3D? Time will tell!

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19 thoughts on “Lab confirms “SL mobile” beta programme

  1. I can understand them not wanting to publicise details such as Android or iOS, and I would expect that to be one of the obvious questions they ask: what sort of mobile device do you use?

    But what sort of effort would they have to make to test more than one of the mobile-platforms options?

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    1. Two faults in your logic. First, you appear to assume that by “mobile” the Lab means “phone” – there are plenty of tablet devices out there with screen sizes of 7 or more inches which could provide access to Second Life. Second, you miss the fact that a large number of people have been requesting SL go more “mobile” since tablets first started appearing, and that many of those same people are actually already enjoying much of what SL has to offer on their Android tablets, courtesy of Lumiya. Certainly, they’re enjoying enough to make it worth their while using Lumiya at those times when their computers aren’t available.

      As such, this is actually a reasonable route for the Lab to take. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Lab comes up with and being able to discuss it publicly.

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  2. I can understand the need to grab that market!
    What scares me is that in order to optimize it to that market without creating a new Second Life engine LL will downgrade the enigne that exists today!

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    1. Why should they?

      They’ve put considerable time, effort and money into trying to extend and improve the operation of SL and the in-world appearance of the platform. There is little reason for them to “downgrade” that experience on account of offering users a further optional means of accessing the world. What’s more, the work Alina Lyvette has put into Lumiya demonstrates that they actually don’t have to.

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  3. As long as ill not be forced to use (cause i just can’t, my eye sight will never allow me to use some so small as a 7′ monitor!) those things and i can still enjoy SL as i do now, i do believe is worth the try, but i feel tha tmore important right now, was to secure the slow exodus that is starting to grow to move to other grids and for that only a lil change on Tos would be needed!

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  4. I love using Lumiya app on Android on a regular basis to visit sims and try out the new features when they are released. I have S3 and Nexus 7 which runs the app nicely so far.

    I hope that the on-going beta program is a success and there is a official Second Life app built by Linden Lab in 2014/2015. I’m sure the app will be released on Android and iOS because there is a market for it etc,

    Linden Lab can make apps because they have made one for other non-SL projects like Patterns. It’s possible but it’s going take time to get it right I think with hopefully the strong support by the SL community.

    I guess we will have to wait and see what happens. 🙂

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    1. I’m sure we’ll see more than one platform flavour of the client. I just wonder if that’ll appear for iOS first, given the Lab’s strong preference for that OS in initial releases of the new products (I’m still waiting for Versu to get to Android 😦 ).

      And you have the S3 and Nexus 7? Not with TalkTalk by any chance, are you? ;-).

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      1. True, seems to go that way for iOS then Android a few days/weeks later. I can’t wait to try out the mobile app if it gets through the beta phrase.

        Nope. On S3 I’m with Vodafone and Nexus 7.2 I didn’t want a mobile service provider. 🙂

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  5. Reading through that forum post you linked to, mention is made of it being an OnLive client, which is an existing service that streams a remotely rendered game to your local client.

    If this is the case, I would expect it to be extremely unattractive when compared to true mobile SL clients like Lumiya, especially over mobile data, where network lag may be (will be) an issue.

    It would explain the extremely limited beta test, as these sorts of services don’t come free.

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    1. I’d actually just seen a reference to the use of OnLive for the client (curiously mentioned in connection to the ongoing Terms of Reference discussions) when you posted this. The forum comment wasn’t available when I posted the original article here, so it’s an interesting read indeed, and does raise several questions. Both with the client itself and with the ToS discussions.

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