A new company started by a veteran of Microsoft and Blue Nile wants to make it cheaper and easier to get music and art for your mobile phone. Phone Sherpa converts audio and image files that people already own into custom ringtones, screen savers and wall paper for mobile phones. Phone Sherpa is the brainchild of Grady Leno, who spent nine years at Microsoft working on Tablet PC and Visual Studio, and later joined Blue Nile as its first employee.
His new Web-based service lets people take a song or picture stored on their computer and send it wirelessly to their mobile phone for as little as 80 cents, less than the $2.50 many wireless carriers charge. To get that rate you have to buy 25 file transfers for $20. The one-time fee is about $2. The sweet spot for Phone Sherpa might be its work with music sites. Leno is marketing his technology so that custom ringtones can be sold to people at the same time they purchase a song for download.