Kuneri, a startup based in Oulu, Finland, has launched a new service called Pikkoo [pik-koo] in closed beta. Pikkoo is a social community allowing free downloading, creating, and sharing mobile screensavers and wallpapers [UGC]. Kuneri was also just selected as one of the nine companies (six North American and only two European) to join 2008 Forum Nokia Innovation Series program. That’s a great achiement, and as part of the program Kuneri will receive business and marketing support.

The service is designed to support Flash Lite screensavers, but the funky thing is that Pikkoo can also create an animated gif file for phones not supporting Flash Lite, so practically the service works with all available phones.

Creating a screensaver

The service looks good, and creating your own screensaver is really easy and fun. Using any of the numerous provided templates I was able to create a pretty nice looking one within minutes. You can also upload own images. All graphics objects can be twisted, resized, and rotated. You can also add various effects to the objects like movement and blinks. It’s also possible to put in a clock, battery level, or network strength indicator. After you’ve happy with the design, you can choose to publish the screensaver in the service, or keep it private. Also Facebookand MySpace apps for marketing and publishing the screensavers are coming up.

There are a few drawbacks in the current version though. First of all, not all the icons in the editor interface are that intuitive, and it takes some time and trials before you realize all things that you can do. The website menu system is also slightly unpolished. The biggest weakness I see at the moment is that you’re not able to download the screensaver directly to your phone from web, instead you have to download it to your PC and then send it to phone with your tools of choice. That’s not going to work with mass market, even I didn’t bother to do it the first night I tried out the service. A related issue is that the file is named after the unique “Pikkoo code” instead of the given screensaver name, which makes it hard to find from the PC – another thing sure to confuse the average Joe. Kuneri is hopefully adding some kind of SMS link push shortly. However, for Series 60 devices Kuneri will offer soon a downloadable Pikkoo client, which allows easy finding, downloading, and installing of screensavers on-device. That really makes using the screensavers easy. Kuneri is also thinking to make a Java-based client for S40 and other handsets.

Once you get the screensaver installed on the actual device, it looks just great. However, on S60 without the Pikkoo client, when the backlight turns off and you press a key after that, the screensaver’s gone right away. With the Pikkoo client the screensaver stays on until you purpose close it, so there’s more value to it. There are also several fancy things you can do with Flash Lite screensavers, including network connection, so we’ll be most likely hearing about very interesting concepts from Kuneri.

The company has been working on, and more known of, their technology tools for creating and distributing Flash Lite applications (e.g. SWFPack launched also recently), but Pikkoo is their step into consumer services. CEO Ugur Kaner hints that they’ve been building the technology base bit by bit, but now they are ready to launch Pikkoo as the first step of their big vision. Kuneri is currently looking for partners who could provide branded content and traffic into the service, getting a new unique marketing channel in return. Ugur commented the revenue model for Pikkoo isn’t that clear yet, and needs to be still worked out.

If you’re eager to try it out, we’re giving out 15 invites to Pikkoo to first 15 who post here a comment asking for one.