Onavo Helps You Save Money By Compressing iPhone’s Data Usage [Updated]


Onavo

Folks at Onavo have released an iPhone app on the App Store couple of days back, which claims to save up to 80% on your data plans and save you money on data usage.

It does this by compressing your iPhone’s data stream in the background by connecting your iPhone to their cloud-based technology, dubbed the “magical shrinking machine”.

Onavo explains how their app works:

Onavo’s app connects your iPhone to our cloud-based technology, dubbed the “magical shrinking machine”. It’s totally seamless – once you install it you can go back to using your phone as before. In the background, your data usage from all apps is compressed so that you get more bang for your buck, doubling and even tripling your data plan.

TechCrunch’s Roi Carthy who has been using this app for a few weeks reports that it works quite well:

The techies among you are asking yourself whether there’s any slow-down in data speed. I’ve been using the app for a few weeks and I have perceived no noticeable slow-down.[..]

[..] I’m currently away on business in San Francisco (I’m based out of Israel) and in the past two days alone I’ve saved 11.32MB, and I still have four nights to go. Most of my savings were with Maps on iPhone, where Onavo saved me 75%, or 8.87MB of 11.80MB. Onavo also saved me 64% surfing the Web, and 12% on email.

You also don’t need to worry about impact on battery life as the compression is done on the server-side.

Onava is targeting travellers to help them reduce data usage while travelling to avoid the expensive data usage charges while roaming.  It should also be useful app for users who are not on unlimited data plan. The app also gives users visibility on how much data each app uses, which should be quite handy.

You can checkout the introductory video of the app below:

Onavo hasn’t explained how it plans to make money as the iPhone app is available for free in the App Store or how it plans to use the data that it is compressed on their servers, which are probably the only concerns. (Please check the update section below for the clarifications provided by Onavo regarding the concerns raised by us).

So if you’re not worried about the privacy aspects of your data, it is a must-have app. We wonder why it has taken so long for someone to release such an app, so kudos to the Onavo team.

You can download it from the App Store using this iTunes link.

Please note Onava’s app currently works only on the iPhone (not on the iPad or iPod Touch) and is available for users who use official iPhone carriers, Verizon is not yet supported. You can checkout the list of carriers here. We’re not sure what’s the technical reason behind it.

Update:

Dvir Reznik from Onavo has addressed the concerns we had raised in our post:

1. Business Model:

Onavo is a VC-backed startup, aimed at helping users take back control of their phone’s data usage, understanding what’s costing them and helping to reign in these costs.

Onavo is free for a limited time, following the launch April 29th, but in the future we will charge for our service. A small fee in exchange for great savings.

2. Privacy Issue:

We take our user’s privacy very seriously so we store only the bare minimum necessary to support the service – all aggregated and anonymized. We do not store any content such as messages, passwords, etc. Additionally, any sensitive content that is encrypted (HTTPS) can not and will not be processed by Onavo.

Thanks Dvir for your comment.

As always, please let us know how it goes if you plan to check it out.