I first learned about Mobile XL on White African. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like much, as there are a number of mobile browser out there (Opera Mobile being one of the better open-format ones I’ve used). The big twist with Mobile XL however is that it does all of its transmission work via SMS. There’s no data connectivity needed, which means that the reach of their browser in Africa is massive, despite being limited primarily to Nokia phones.
Word has come down that they’ve partnered up with Go Places to provide mobile restaurant information served up over the Mobile XL browser:
Providing information about restaurants to mobile phone users furthers our commitment to increasing awareness of the many wonderful eating venues within the East African Region. The XLBrowser provides consumers with a new way to quickly and easily find great places to eat from anywhere at anytime.
This is quite wonderfully fantastic. It’s the first large scale instance that I’ve heard of where someone is doing what Yelp or Qype are doing. Obviously there isn’t the user review components…yet, but I find those to be such a secondary element to these type of ventures. It’s the directory of information and the ability to find new places that’s the most important. That being the case, the East African region will hopefully benefit from this partnership and people will discover more than what their Lonely Planet or Rough Guide decides to tell them. Maybe locals will even learn about new places as well!