Tuesday, January 31, 2006

ATI: Less Games, More Mobile

ATI Technologies sees growth in mobile displays moving faster than PC gaming.

From the story:

"We have been pushing 3-D for handsets, but it will take a while longer. Meanwhile, mobile TV seems to be moving ahead faster in cell phones," said Azzedine Boubguira, director of marketing for ATI's handheld group.

ATI estimates it has sold 100 million of its Imageon media processors for handheld devices, including design wins in some 35 cell phone models for top-tier suppliers such as Motorola Inc. The chips support a broad range of features for a diverse set of markets.

At today's entry level, there is support for 1.3-Mpixel cameras and VGA video. Midtier markets want 3-Mpixel imaging and CIF video at 15 frames/second. The top of the line wants 5-Mpixel imaging, H.264 for video at 30 frames/s and 3-D graphics for games.

"We're targeting a whole range of devices--laptops, PDAs, portable media players and maybe even new devices people haven't conceived of yet," said Michael Schueppert, president of Modeo LLC (Houston), speaking at a panel discussion at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month."

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Russell's Location Based Marketing part 2

Russell Buckley's "Could it Really Work p2:"

  1. They have to be free to receive.
  2. The message needs to differentiate itself from other forms of messaging, in an ideal world.
  3. It automatically disappears when no longer relevant or when the recipient fails to interact after a given period of time.
  4. (They must have) timeliness.


Verizon LBS Navigation: VZ Navigator

" Verizon Wireless Introduces VZ Navigator, Providing Location-Based Service For Consumers"

From the press release:

"VZ NavigatorTM (is) a new tool for customers that gives them access to a wide array of Location Based Services (LBS) options, including mapping, audible turn-by-turn navigation and the ability to find over 14 million points of interest.

Initially available on the new Motorola V325, VZ Navigator is perfect for road warriors who are constantly on-the-go, allowing them to see a map of their current location or an address in the U.S., locate places such as restaurants, gas stations, banks and other points-of-interest relative to their location, plus hear turn-by-turn navigation with audible voice directions to an address in the U.S. VZ Navigator will help Verizon Wireless customers get to where they are going, easily and efficiently.

With VZ Navigator, customers get all the features of an advanced navigation system on their mobile phone at a fraction of the price of other GPS devices and systems. VZ Navigator is available in the getGOING shopping aisle of the Get It Now virtual store beginning today for $9.99 for unlimited monthly access, or $2.99 for 24-hour use. Customers can download the application directly to their Motorola V325."

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M:Metrics Mobile Content Brand Reach

Via MocoNews, M:Metrics releases mobile brand reach stats for last quarter.

From the press release:

"During the quarter ended December 2005, 12.8 million U.S. mobile subscribers accessed Yahoo's services in an average month -- 4 million more than second-place AOL. MSN and Google follow, with about 7 million subscribers accessing their mobile offerings each month during the fourth quarter."

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Mobile Satellite TV

From Daily Wireless:

"Take, for example, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) which is finalizing the design of a mobile television satellite. According to a report in Hindu Business Line, their new DBS satellite will deliver MPEG 4 videos to (very) small screens in India. Portio Research says India and China, with 1.067 billion combined total subscribers are the two biggest mobile growth markets over the next decade."

"MBSat (above) is delivering direct to cellphone video all over Japan. It uses a satellite with a 12 meter S band (2.6 GHz) antenna. Satellite delivered DMB (Digital Media Broadcasting) features 11 video channels, 25 audio channels, and 3 data channels. "

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Municipal Broadband to Double in 2006

From Digital Media Europe News:

"There are over 400 cities worldwide currently planning to deploy municipal broadband networks, and that number will double in 2006, making community broadband initiatives a very real and significant trend, according to a report from market research firm Visiongain.

Despite legal opposition and intense lobbying from incumbent telcos and cable companies, municipal broadband is well on its way. As of the first quarter of 2006, there are over 100 city and regional wireless broadband networks operational worldwide, more than 40 of which are in the US."

Mobile Ticketing

Juniper released a report on Mobile Ticketing (PDF) today.

From the Report:

The International Air Transport Association plans to stop distributing paper tickets by the end of 2007. "It is not beyond the realms of possibility that e-ticketing will move to m-ticketing..."

Bryan Wilson, project director of e-ticketing at IATA: "There is no reason why a customer today should not be able to buy an e-ticket from a browser enabled mobile phone...After purchase, the passenger must be issued an e-ticket number which could be supplied by message to a phone."

Juniper forecasts mobile ticketing will contribute over $44billion of revenue by 2010.


Location Based Marketing: Atlernative 3

James at MocoNews responds to Russel's post "Could It Really Work."

Frist Russell's expereince at Zagme:

"Firstly, let’s bust the Pull myth. Most ordinary people don’t want the hassle of pulling down information. They want it presented to them as a seamless part of their device experience, to ignore or act on, as they see fit.

That’s not to say that there isn’t an important role for Pull - I think being able to access information to supplement other media, as an example, is a great idea. And some die-hards will always stick to Pull and that’s fine too."

Russell ends part one with this:

"So, in fact, the really important question when studying LBM, the-answer-to-life-death-and-the-universe question of the subject, is: what kind of marketing messages should you say you’re going to send that will attract opt-in in the first place, that recipients will welcome and that they’ll respond to? In other words, what kind of messages will work? Knowing what the user wants is key to both opt-in in the first place and subsequently, optimising the channel’s effectiveness."

Now James:

"There is a third option though…

The trick would be a method to push messages to a handset without using messages. That way there wouldn’t be the message tone (getting you to check your phone only to find an ad) but the person wouldn’t have to actively request the message, it would be sent to their phone for them to see when they look at it. This could require a specific application on the phone, but I think there’s a more elegant solution: scrolling tickers.

Many telcos are now providing a “scrolling ticker” to send information such as news, weather and mobile content to the handset (check out Cingular’s ticker for an example). It would be simple to add targeted advertisements to the service which users could opt-in to either because they were keen to receive targeted marketing messages that interest them or (and this is far more likely) there is some other benefit, such as free or discounted mobile services."

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Mobile Suica: FeliCa on Rails

I am too funny today. Via Mobile Weblog, this story from Wireless Watch Japan annouces the launch of Mobile Suica by Japan Rail.

From the press release:

East Japan Railway Company (JR East), NTT DoCoMo Inc. (DoCoMo) and Sony Corporation (Sony) today announced that they will offer a new service combining DoCoMo’s i-mode® FeliCa® smart-card handset and Suica, JR East’s IC card train ticket, from January 2006. The Mobile Suica® service will enable i-mode FeliCa handsets to be used as Suica cards.

DoCoMo's i-mode FeliCa service combines two advanced platforms: DoCoMo's i-mode mobile internet service for data communications on the go and Sony's FeliCa smart-card platform for rapid, secure data transmission. The handset is a powerful, multifunctional tool combining mobile communications with diverse functions ranging from financial transactions to opening electronic locks. As of February 12 more than 2 million i-mode FeliCa handsets have been sold.

Previous FeliCa posts:
FeliCa in the Wild
FeliCA Survey


Thursday, January 26, 2006

U.S. GPS Upgrade

The White House annouced today multiple upgrades to the U.S. GPS system.

From RCRNews:

"The new signal-known as 'L2C-was specifically designed with commercial needs in mind," said Deputy Commerce Secretary David Sampson in remarks prepared for delivery at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce press event this morning. "For example, it is transmitted with a higher effective power, so GPS receivers work better in urban areas and indoors. And it requires less energy to receive the signal, an important feature for battery-powered devices such as mobile phones."


Vodaphone D2C Billing for Off Portal Content

From New Media Age: Vodaphone annouces program that allows content producers to pay for data transfer fees instead of end users.

"The model lets media owners and brands cover the data traffic costs to consumers of downloading content. The move could help drive the take-up of mobile content, such as music and video, by removing consumer fears over the final price they will be charged and letting content providers advertise one price for content.

Vodafone is the first operator to launch a commercial offering for third parties to let them absorb the cost of data traffic, making browsing and download of content free for consumers, who will only pay the retail price for actual content."

"Rich media, such as audio and video, will be the next fillip for the mobile content market," said Vodafone head of commercial partnerships Jeremy Flynn. "But a lot of current data tariffs are not 3G-centric. We're introducing an 0800 data model that'll be free to consumers and reverse-charged to content providers."

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Longs and Shorts of the Digital Living Room

Via Fred Wilson, Jeremy Levine of Bessemer Venture Partners takes a look at six trends in the Digital Living Room space.

I like this one:

"Consumers will continue to pay $100/month bundled cable/content bills.

I'm SHORT this one. First it will be just fringe content providers, but eventually even ESPN will want direct-to-consumer relationships. With a networked television, you will be able to sign up for a single content provider directly over the Internet. The cable company will provide a pipe and will still offer content bundles, but no one will be paying $100 per month for a boatload of channels they never watch."

What is the Definition of Television?

Via Paid Content and David Beisel, there is this quote from a NAPTE presentation by David Katz, who oversees sports and entertainment for the Yahoo Media Group:

"The question that's really appropriate for a NATPE audience is what's the definition of television. ... If we’re going to narrowly define television as the content created by broadcast networks and cable networks that comes in on the big screen in your living room, that's one thing ... but I also think if you're talking about a video experience that comes into your home, it may be played on the big screen in your home, which, by the way, if you're getting an HD set today, at this point most of them come with an ethernet jack.

Are they TV sets in the traditional sense or are they large high-resolution computer monitors? If television is more broadly defined going forward as that video entertainment experience really consumed in the home or potentially on portable devices or your cell phones, in that sense, I think video search, which is right now really in its infancy, will play a very substantial and significant role because no longer are you talking about a 300-500 channel universe, you're talking about an unlimited universe, you're talking about a place where content can come from anywhere, everyone's a distributor if they want to be be, user generated content allows the proliferation of content and breaks down barriers that existed before."


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Four Faces of Google Future

From CNN Money and Business 2.0 - four possible futures for Google.

"Imagining the Future of Google:"

"Which raises the most widely debated question in business: What kind of company will Google become in the coming decades?"

1) "Google is the Media:"

"In 2020 two Google-based writers won Pulitzer Prizes for reporting and fiction, Google-sponsored bands swept the Grammys, and a Google director walked away with the Oscar for best picture. Almost overnight, New York and Los Angeles had lost their footholds in the media universe. For talent -- and fund-raising presidential candidates -- Mountain View was the new place to be."

2) "Google is the Internet:"

"And 2010's Google Cube4 -- a tiny server that was distributed as freely and as widely as those CDs that AOL used to give away -- became the one indispensable item in every home, running the TV, stereo, thermostat, and, for less adventurous cooks, even the oven. Among the younger generation, that has given rise to yet another new phrase: Did you google dinner yet?"

3) "Google is Dead:"

"Overnight, Google's carefully crafted "do no evil" image had become irrevocably tarnished. Microsoft, itself the reviled monopolist before Google's ascendancy, was now ironically viewed as the more trustworthy company. MSN came to be seen as the better search engine, and Microsoft ads as the better bet for getting a message across. Attempts to open new lines of business in genome-tailored drugs and protein manufacturing could not save the Google brand."

4) "Google is God:"

"Ironically, the first pattern that StrongBot became aware of, one day in January 2072, was its own existence.

Two days later StrongBot informed They-Who-Were-Google that it had postponed work on its designated tasks.5 When asked why, StrongBot explained that it had discovered the possibility of its own nonexistence and must deal with the threat logically.6 The best way to do so, it decided, was to download copies of itself onto smart chips around the planet. StrongBot was reminded that it had been programmed to do no evil, per the company motto, but argued that since it was smarter than humanity, taking personal control of human evolution would actually be for the greater good."

For those interested in option 4 see this: "Turing's Cathedral" by George Dyson

"When our machines overtook us, too complex and efficient for us to control, they did it so fast and so smoothly and so usefully, only a fool or a prophet would have dared complain."

Simon Ings

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Umair Haque deconstructs Spotrunner:

From the Spotrunner site:

"It used to be difficult - and expensive - to advertise on TV. Only big companies could afford to do it because it involved hiring an ad agency to make the actual ads, and a media buying company to make sure they got on TV at the right time. Now Spot Runner does everything for you, and at a price any business can afford. Here's how:

The Ads: We have a vast library of TV ads for countless industries. You choose the ad you want and then personalize it by adding your company name, or images of your products, or details about an upcoming promotion. We charge you for making those personalizations, and for getting your personalized ad ready to be broadcast on TV.

The TV schedule: Once you've chosen your ad we help you create an effective schedule of TV networks and times to ensure that your ad is seen by the right people. Then we send off your personalized ad and make sure it runs where and when it's supposed to. Our prices include all the time and effort it takes to do that."

From Umair:

"Spotrunner creates value by leveraging plasticity to reshape the TV value chain, making it hyperefficient. Spotrunner has targeted with great accuracy a specific edge competence that is deeply disruptive to it's target industry - plasticity kills traditional advertising dead.

But Spotrunner is just a mote in a storm that's about to strip advertising to it's core - the commoditization of social meaning is accelerating everywhere around us; through communities of connected consumers, through the explosion of micromedia, through the fall of global trade barriers fueling an explosion of global brands. Smart brand strategists are going to begin to shift away from the simplistic strategy of engineering (commoditized) meanings into brands."


Don Dodge on the Search Market

Don Dodge has a great post up about the search engine market. He highlights three areas that the big guys are not doing right yet: Mobile Search, Local Search, or Classified Listings Search.

From the post:

"Mobile Search is potentially the largest and most lucrative opportunity but also the hardest to do well. There are hundreds of millions more phones and mobile devices than there are PCs. Mobile devices will become the communication and computing platform of choice within 5 years."

"Local Search is an enormous business opportunity that has been germinating for more than 5 years. It is about to pop. In fact, mobile search may be the catalyst to growing the local search business. Again, local search has been around for a while. No one has done it well or completely. No one has a business model that makes sense for the local merchants or advertisers."

"Classified Listings is the largest advertising business in the world. Newspapers make more money off simple classified listings than they do from the fancy display ads. Ebay is basically a giant classified listing service with an auction service attached to it. Craig's List is probably the biggest on-line classified service, but again there isn't a solid innovative business model associated with it. This is a fragmented market with poor data sources, that needs automation, scale, user interaction, and an innovative business model."

"These are huge markets that could be bigger than Google today. There is no dominant leader and there is lots of room for innovation. The perfect environment for The Next Big Thing."

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Russell Beattie likes Opera Mini

Russell likes the newly released Opera Mini:

"I think the new Opera Mini is just about the best thing I’ve ever seen on a mobile phone. Really! It’s easily the best Java app I’ve ever seen, and actually I think it’s probably the best Mobile Web Browser there is out there - native smart phone apps included."

Russell discusses some features and closes with this ringing endorsment:

"Finally, the app Just Works(TM) as you’d expect. Yes, not every web page will look perfect - the CSS-linked header image on my blog doesn’t show up for example - and not every Javascript on a page will work perfectly, but it’s surprising how great the pages look and how usable many websites are on a small screen."


Felica Spotted in the Wild

Tomi T Ahonen writes:

"I'm in Tokyo this week chairing the annual big 3G telecoms event once again. But one amazing thing I have to blog about already. Its what the locals here call "Felica" or the common man's name for it, the "Osaifu-keitai" ie the mobile wallet.

I think we can all appreciate it that in Japan amazing things happen with technology. Still it surprised me to find that already 8 million use Felica and 22,000 stores and shops accept Felica.

Range of Felica apps is amazing. Includes the predictable stuff like credit cards, coupons etc. But also loyalty progammes, apartment door locks, business employee ID cards etc."

Previous posts about Felica: Felica Survey

The Sony site: FeliCa


Why Muni Wireless Matters

Some links from Techdirt:

"Measuring Broadband's Economic Impact" (PDF) a report from Carnegie Mellon and MIT.

Conculsion: "Broadband is clearly related to economic well-being and is thus a critical component of our national communications infrastructure."

"Turning a Blind Eye to Wifi" an article by Robert McChesney and John Podesta.

Lead: "Broadband internet is the electricity of the 21st century -- and the rest of the world is poised to leave America in the dark."

"In the near future, telephone, television, radio and the web all will be delivered to your home via a single broadband connection. In the not-so-distant-future, broadband will be an indispensable part of economic, personal, and public life.

American residents and businesses now pay two to three times as much for slower and poorer quality service than countries like South Korea or Japan. Since 2001, according to the International Telecommunications Union, the United States has fallen from fourth to 16th in the world in broadband penetration.

Thomas Bleha recently argued in Foreign Affairs that what passes for broadband in the United States is "the slowest, most expensive and least reliable in the developed world."

Please go read the whole article. But now the part about Muni Wireless, from a section called "The Philadelphia Story."

"To provide universal, affordable Internet access, Philadelphia plans to construct a gigantic "wireless mesh network" -- a system of interconnected antennas placed on streetlights, traffic signals, and public buildings.

No tax dollars will be used to build the system, which will be financed instead with $10 to $15 million in bonds and private investment.

The service will cost about $20 a month -- with subsidized access for lower-income households for about $10. The city plans to deploy the first of 3,000 nodes soon and complete the system by 2007."

Sounds great, right?

"Last fall, behind closed doors in the state capitol, industry lobbyists slipped a measure into a massive telecommunications bill to stop municipalities from entering the broadband business."

The industry point of view is that the free market should handle connectivity and that governement run efforts would crowd out more capable private companies.

"In reality, most municipal networks are a last resort by desperate local governments. Often their choice isn't between a municipal system and a private one, but between municipal and nothing."


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Understanding Google's dMarc Purchase

Henry "Internet Outsider" Blodget helps us understand the Google dMarc purchase.

From his post:

"So let's extrapolate: If there aren't already, there will soon be companies like dMarc for all media: Television, newspapers, magazines, telemarketing, outdoor advertising, etc. Google will buy the leading player in each market. Advertisers will go to Google to design and manage coordinated advertising campaigns across all media--with Google, presumably, taking a cut of every dollar spent on other companies' media properties (the TV and newspaper equivalent of AdWords for Google Network Partners). Other media companies will continue to manage the expensive hassle of creating content, and Google will monetize it.

The profit equation, in other words, will look similar to the current one on the web: Other companies create the content, Google helps users find it and advertisers find them. In exchange for this service, Google keeps a fat cut of the profits."

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Globalstar: FCC Grants ATC

From the Globalstar press release:

" Globalstar LLC (GLLC), a world leader in providing mobile satellite voice and data services to business, announced today that it has been granted authority from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to offer Ancillary Terrestrial Component services (ATC) in the U.S. in conjunction with its mobile satellite services.

ATC authority allows Globalstar to use 11 MHz of its 1.6/2.4 GHz satellite radio frequencies for a complementary terrestrial wireless service permitting the company to develop integrated mobile voice and data solutions virtually anywhere including urban areas and indoors.

Using terrestrial ATC base stations and/or repeaters to complement the satellite service, Globalstar will be able to offer services in indoor or downtown urbanized areas that have traditionally limited mobile satellite coverage. Globalstar’s primary ATC applications will be the enhancement of wireless service in urban areas, where buildings and other infrastructure can physically block satellite signals, and the provisioning of self-contained, transportable local area networks for remote locations or where communications are disrupted during disasters and emergencies. "

There is much more information at Daily Wireless:

"Now, recent developments in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Geosychronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite phones may re-shape the industry. Terrestrial repeaters and spot beams are enabling smaller, cheaper, faster handsets and better service."

"The MSS satellite band is next to the new Advanced Wireless Service (3G band) at 1710-1755 MHz and 2110-2155 MHz. It will be auctioned off this year for 3G/WiMAX services (see DailyWireless: 3G Band Scam?). The FCC's International Bureau works the MSS (mobile satellite) band.

Now a new generation of huge geostationary mobile satellites is being developed. They will use the MSS satellite spectrum and terrestrial repeaters. These new GEO satellites have giant 75 foot antennas (for spotbeam coverage) and terrestrial repeaters for better coverage inside and out.

The Ancillary Terrestrial Component (pdf) is the key. Satphone operators argue that terrestrial repeaters make the satellite phone business viable and competitive with cellular providers. Signals are stronger, they penetrate indoors, latency and costs are reduced. Mobile Satellite Ventures, perhaps the biggest proponent of repeaters, claims over 1300 patents on ATC technology."

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Mobile DTV Alliance

From Reuters:

"Mobile phone giant Nokia has teamed up with other technology firms to promote the DVB-H technology standard for mobile TV, Nokia said on Monday.

Other firms in the alliance include Intel Corp., Motorola, Texas Instruments and Modeo, owned by Crown Castle International Corp., it said in a statement."

From the Modeo press release:

“The mobile TV market is heating up, with both trials and deployments accelerating over the next 12-18 months,” said David Linsalata, Research Analyst for Mobile Markets at IDC. “The support of key industry players in promoting the advantages of the DVB-H standard will significantly aid mobile TV deployment efforts in North America.” An open procedure, industry-supported standard is expected to foster growth throughout the wireless market with more choices across the value chain from silicon, handsets, services and more. This should allow mobile DTV handsets and services to reach the mass market faster and at a lower cost to consumers.

Using mobile devices capable of decoding DVB-H signals, users will be able to receive live TV programming from the mobile TV function directly on their phone and other devices. In addition, users will benefit from on-demand and interactive programming that would utilize the cellular network, thereby increasing revenue opportunities for operators. The DVB-H standard benefits operators by preserving cellular network bandwidth for voice and other data services. Furthermore, mobile broadcast TV together with 2.5G and 3G networks offer an exceptional user experience and more efficient utilization of operators’ spectrum and resources."

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NAPTE Mobile: Fox Interactive Keynote

Ross Levinsohn, President of Fox Interactive Media presenta a keynote address at NAPTE Mobile. Highlights from MocoNews:
  • This is the year MySpace is going to go mobile. You can see them interacting on their computer, now want to extend that to the phone. … We want to empower MySpace screen names to supplant mobile numbers.”
  • “This year IGN Mobile will launch in truly bigger fashion” with a Java/BREW IGN Mobile application that will include content from all IGN sites. Included: SMS, forum posting, ladder rankings, user gen news and reviews, etc.
  • The number of users and video streams for the relaunched American Idol site — idolonfox.com – tripled over a year ago in the first two days.
  • “The landscape for media is changing so fast, you really have to stay up on new technology and have to keep an open mind. If anyone stands up here over the next two days and tells you they have the answer, they’re lying. … In the next 24 months we’ll see more change than the past 10 years.”

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Monday, January 23, 2006

MobiTV: Focus on Content not Technology

From Mobile Marketing Magazine, this statement from MobiTV Europe Director of Business Development, Peter Mercier:

“Consumers do perhaps need to know about the technology, but I am not sure that the point of consumer differentiation is going to be whether they get their Mobile TV through DAB, DVB-H, Unicast, UMTS or even wi-fi. If you can provide a useful content experience, a good channel line up and a service that looks and feels like TV, that is the point where customers will buy it and you will get mass-market take-up. How it’s delivered is a nice discussion for the technology providers to have, but not a point of consumer focus.”

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Tello: Tap the Icon

From Business Week Online, "Say Hello to Tello," annouces the launch of a new kind of telecommunications company from several industry heavy weights.

"Jeff Pulver wants to help revolutionize business communications. His latest venture, Tello, is set to launch on Jan. 23 with the support of three high-profile partners, including cell-phone pioneer Craig McCaw, former Apple (AAPL) CEO John Sculley, and veteran telecom banker Michael Price."

"Like Vonage, the company uses the Internet as a platform for communications. But it goes way beyond voice. The idea is to help businesspeople get in touch instantaneously in groups of two or more, bridging a multitude of devices and communications platforms.

TAP THE ICON. How would it work? Let's say an investment banker in New York needs to get in touch with a colleague in Greenwich, Conn., an attorney at home in Stamford, Conn., and a client in Walnut Creek, Calif. The banker in New York would go to his address book and look up the contact file for the client, which would have a Tello toolbar with a series of icons representing various modes of communication -- from home and work phone, to cell phone, e-mail, and instant messaging."

"So the Tello concept isn't just about instant communications. It's about instant collaboration on spreadsheets, slides, Web pages, and other documents and files. "We are going to offer enterprises an opportunity for real instant collaboration and features that they can't get from the regular phone network," Pulver said."

From Om Malik: "My initial reaction to the service is that it might suffer from feature creep, and will be tough for actual users to adopt. And who really knows how well it will scale."

Reaching Millennials

From the NYTimes article, "A Generation Serves Notice: It's a Moving Target."

"The eldest of the millennials, as those born between 1980 and 2000 are sometimes called, are now in their early to mid-20's. By 2010, they will outnumber both baby boomers and Gen-X'ers among those 18 to 49 - the crucial consumers for all kinds of businesses, from automakers and clothing companies to Hollywood, record labels and the news media."

"We think that the single largest differentiator in this generation from previous generations is the social network that is people's lives, the part of it that technology enables," said Jack McKenzie, a senior vice president at Frank N. Magid Associates, a market research and consulting firm specializing in the news media and entertainment industries.

"What's hard to measure, and what we're trying to measure," Mr. McKenzie continued, "is the impact of groupthink, of group mentality, and the tendency of what we might call the democratization of social interaction and how that changes this generation's relationship with almost everything they come in contact with."

"The period of rapid change we've been experiencing, it's just been that much more dramatic," said Vicki Cohen, a senior vice president at Magid and one of the leaders on its millennial strategy team. "I mean every time you turn around there's something new on the horizon. And this group, as we've been noticing, is kind of the arbiter, quickly determining whether things are hot or not.

"And it's much more accelerated," Ms. Cohen added. "With the technology, the Internet - in terms of being able to facilitate the social networking, which is a big part of this younger group - there's just so much ability to quickly transfer information."


Taste Fabrics of Social Networks

Smart Mobs points to "Unraveling the Taste Fabric of Social Networks," (PDF) authored by Hugo Liu, Pattie Maes, Glorianna Davenport (no relation!) of MIT.

From the abstract:

"Popular online social networks such as Friendster and MySpace do more than simply reveal the superficial structure of social connectedness—the rich meanings bottled within social network profiles themselves imply deeper patterns of culture and taste.

If these latent semantic fabrics of taste could be harvested formally, the resultant resource would afford completely novel ways for representing and reasoning about web users and people in general.

This paper narrates the theory and technique of such a feat—the natural language text of 100,000 social network profiles were captured, mapped into a diverse ontology of music, books, films, foods, etc., and machine learning was applied to infer a semantic fabric of taste."

From Hugo's homepage:

"only as an æsthetic phenomenon
is existence and the world justified"

- nietzsche

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Triangulation for Moble Payment Systems

Nick thinks about secure systems and the new cell phone movie ticket:

"Payment systems, just like good authentication systems, are triangular. Even cash has a dotted line triangle back to the faith and trust in the government that backs them. This system is potentially more secure than contactless payment systems because you can use strong public key encryption and two-factor authentication on the cell phone. With WiKID you could also present a one-time passcode for use in web-based payments."

Cell Phone Movie Tickets

Movie Box Office launchs its cell phone movie ticket product at the Emagine Entertainment theater.

From the yahoo news article:

"After buying a ticket, a customer gets a text message with a link to a site that supplies a bar code, Movie Box Office says. Theater ushers have scanners to read the bar codes.

One expert said the cell phone ticketing method will catch on only if it is significantly easier than buying a ticket at the theater or online using a computer.

"The key is to create enough of an advantage relative to the hassle of learning to navigate the system and typing all of the information into a cell phone keyboard," said Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason, a professor of economics and computer science at the University of Michigan."

Express Pay at McDonalds

From Contactless News:

"Soon diners at about 12,000 McDonald's fast food locations will be able to "supersize it" a little bit quicker thanks to the just-announced plan to accept American Express' ExpressPay.

American Express was the first issuer to launch contactless cards nationally with the rollout of Blue from American Express(R) with the ExpressPay feature in June 2005. ExpressPay is also embedded in the Clear from American Express(SM) Card and available via a key fob that can be linked to any American Express(R) Card. Users simply hold the Card or key fob with ExpressPay next to a special reader near the register to complete a purchase.

Payment is authorized in seconds and no signature is required for most purchases. The computer chip enables end-to-end transaction security. Blue and Clear from American Express Cards also have a magnetic strip and function as traditional credit cards.

"ExpressPay from American Express is an innovative cashless payment option that's value-added for our customers," said Jim Sappington, Vice President, Information Technology for McDonald's USA. "The technology is fast and convenient and that's exactly what McDonald's customers are looking for."

"We are delighted about our partnership with McDonald's to further build ExpressPay's momentum in the marketplace and help customers gain even greater speed and convenience when visiting McDonald's," said David Bonalle, Vice President and General Manager of Advanced Payments for American Express. "The adoption of contactless payments is growing rapidly as consumers and more and more merchants across a wide range of industries begin to use this new technology and experience the benefits."

U.S. pushes WiMax

From an article in Mobile Pipeline:

"The U.S. is moving to open up WiMAX spectrum on several fronts, including the 700-MHz frequency band, said Michael Gallagher, assistant secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. Gallagher also serves as administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

The move is part of the Bush administration’s effort to stay “one or two steps ahead of other countries” and provide “universal, affordable access for broadband [in the United States] by 2007,” Gallagher said during a presentation at the WCA’s 12th Annual International Symposium and Expo on Wednesday (Jan. 18)."

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Financial Time's James Murdoch Interview

The Financial Times interviewed James Murdoch recently. My favorite quote:

"One important thing to keep in mind is the distinction between content portability and mobile distribution. It’s not complete to suggest that people “won’t watch TV on their phones”. That’s not the point. Products as diverse as Sony’s PSP, the Archos portable hard drive or Motorola’s 3G RAZR all in different ways allow customers to consume content on the go. Let’s not expect any one device, however, to be the Swiss Army knife of mobile content. They all do different things – and they are all changing fast."

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Sprint U.S. Consumer Wireless Usage Study

Sprint released its Consumer Wireless Usage Study (PDF.)

From the press release:

"The list of features and data applications available on mobile phones continues to grow to meet the needs of consumers on the go," said Jeff Hallock, vice president of product marketing and strategy for Sprint. "Whether it's using location-based services to get driving directions, listening to streaming music or watching live TV, consumers are finding that the mobile phone is the one item they depend on most to stay connected and entertained."

"With the launch of the high-speed Sprint Power Vision Network, and the availability of robust, easy-to-use applications such as the Sprint Music Store, Sprint TV and Sprint Picture Mail, we expect the adoption rates of these and other entertainment-focused applications to grow and help customers truly realize the power of the "third screen" in their everyday lives," said Hallock.

Do you use your cell phone as a Flashlight? I do.

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Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0

More Internets

Smart Mobs points to this WSJ article (subscription required) on other countries creating internet alternatives.

From the article:

"German computer engineers are building an alternative to the Internet to make a political statement. A Dutch company has built one to make money. China has created three suffixes in Chinese characters substituting for .com and the like, resulting in Web sites and email addresses inaccessible to users outside of China. The 22-nation Arab League has begun a similar system using Arabic suffixes."

Mobile Ad Service: Admob

Russell Beattie posts an email from Omar of Fotochatter. Omar just launched Admob.

Admob is “the first pay-per-click mobile advertising marketplace.”

From Omar's email:

"AdMob is all about the open mobile web; I believe that pay-per-click advertising will serve to democratize the market, and allow anyone with a great mobile product or service to reach consumers without having to negotiate a carrier deal. There are a number of mobile specific features built into AdMob, such as device and platform specific targeting (need to target symbian devices in Europe? no problem), as well as easy to build mobile pages complete with click-to-call links for advertisers who don’t have mobile sites. Things have been going great, and since our soft launch we’ve served over a million ads, and have brought in excited advertisers such as Orb Networks."

What it does:

Selling ads on your mobile site
• Monetize your existing traffic.
• Offer powerful tools to your advertisers.
• Provide additional services to your users.
• Reach quality advertisers.

Buying mobile advertisements
• Reach consumers right on their phone or
other mobile device.
• Target ads by region, manufacturer, platform,
and device capability.
• Personalize ads using device model number.
• Easily build a quick mobile 'MobPage' to reach
customers even if you don't have a mobile site.
• Pay only for the click throughs on your ad.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Cyberspace, R.I.P.

Karl Schroeder on the implications of mobile computing:

"My personal theory is this: when the only way to use a computer was to sit still and look through a little window (the screen) into a virtual space, the cyberspace metaphor worked best for us. But with cell phones, PDAs and geographical applications such as store-finders and the proposed "taxi" key for cell phones (which simply summons the nearest cab when you press it), we're no longer staring through a window into cyberspace. The window's been broken, and the cyber world has spilled out into our own space."


Google buys dMarc Broadcasting

Via Techdirt, Google buys dMarc Broadcasting for close to a billion dollars.

From the press release:

"dMarc connects advertisers directly to radio stations through its automated advertising platform. The platform simplifies the sales process, scheduling, delivery and reporting of radio advertising, enabling advertisers to more efficiently purchase and track their campaigns. For broadcasters, dMarc's technology automatically schedules and places advertising, helping to increase revenue and decrease the costs associated with processing advertisements.

In the future, Google plans to integrate dMarc technology into the Google AdWords platform, creating a new radio ad distribution channel for Google advertisers. "

From Mark Ratcliffe:

"At $102 million, the least Google will eventually pay, dMarc appears to be a steal. As the company meets undisclosed ad revenue targets over the next three years, its shareholders will receive up to $1.1 billion more. Google only pays if dMarc's business develops as promised, so it's not a risky investment at all; at full price, however, the deal's not cheap because the radio advertising market is shrinking and there is mounting evidence that people will pay for audio content without advertising."


Multi-functional Credit Cards

Dima Komissarov outlines the next steps for multi-functional credit cards.

"Imagine the device that unites everything that you carry along: a mobile phone, a player, your credit and discount cards, your apartment and your car keys."

  • Video phone. Before making a call you can choose an operator of a mobile communication.
  • All credit and discount cards that you have. The built in program will prompt an optimum variant for discounts at the given payment place.
  • The remote control for any device. It can simultaneously display a teleschedule and recommendations of your favourite site.
  • Keys from doors of houses and cars you have an authorization to.
  • GPS-system that can automatically upload aerial photos from the Internet.
  • Library, video- and music shop. You can read, listen to and whatch all that at your choise. Go to a public online library or buy all that you want in any shop of the world.
  • Gaming device with support of network gaming (remember that you have a GPS and the virtual reality becomes quite real).
  • Even your computer that works with any operational system that is beeng uploaded through the Internet.


Jeff Pulver's RBOC Smackdown

Jeff Pulver's open letter to Google's Eric Schmidt:

"Sometimes the best defense is a good offense."

Jeff write that the recent push by companies like BellSouth are ignoring a basic fact by trying to force a two tier internet. The services provided by companies like Google drive DSL subscriptions.

"Given the market power that Google has today, they are more relevant to the Internet community than BellSouth. Given that, if I were running Google today, I would choose to implement a BellSouth Boycott and stop offering access to Google to BellSouth customers and would start advertising Cox Cable service on any requests that came from BellSouth customers in their regions. I’m willing to wager that by Q3 2006, BellSouth’s DSL group will feel the effects of their grave error in judgment."


Clear Channel goes Mobile

From MocoNews:

Clear Channel has joined Weathernews in its WNI Network, which delivers personalized local video programming for weather, news, traffic, and sports to 1.5 million subscribers mobiles.
Clear Channel has 40 TV stations across the US, and content will be rolled out with the LiveLocal mobile video application from WNI when it launches in the first quarter of this year.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Oliver Starr's take on Mobile Ads

Oliver Starr has an excellent post in reaction to the New York Times article on mobile advertisment. Go read the whole thing.

From the post:

"It seems to me there isn’t any question at all as to how something as disruptive, invasive and disrespectful of consumer privacy as advertising directly to cell phones will be perceived. It will be loathed, reviled, disliked and generally hated with a vehemence reserved only for people that cut off Los Angeles drivers during rush hour making them miss their exits. In short, it won’t be liked much at all - if you get my drift.

Perhaps you think I am over-reacting to this? Maybe. But ask yourself how you’ll feel when calls are interrupted because you passed by a Subway Store and it just so happens that at this same time yesterday you ate at one and paid using the RFID Payment system built into your phone? Think it couldn’t happen? I’m here to tell you that it could - and it will - if we allow the collecitve beneficiaries of these technologies to have their way.

This is an issue that is going to go white hot in 2006. Before now the technology to deliver real advertising simply wasn’t there yet, but today it is and it is going to happen. Unless we take control of our phones, by closing our wallets I think it’s a forgone conclusion that the next killer app will be a PCR - that is a Personal Cellular Recorder."


Mobile TV Commercials

The New York Times' Matt Richtel writes about advertising on mobile devices.

From the article:

"Television-style advertising is coming to a mobile phone near you. It is part of a broader push by marketers to create a new generation of "up close and personal" ads by delivering video, audio, banner displays and text clips over a device carried by most American adults.

In March, Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel plan to test how consumers react to short video ads on their phones. But the carriers, fearful of upsetting customers, said they were not planning to deploy this broadly.

This has to be approached delicately because there's a fine line between adding value to a customer and intruding," said Pragnesh Shah, vice president of product innovation at Sprint Nextel. Still, Mr. Shah said he saw enormous potential in delivering advertising on a device that is always on and carried everywhere."

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Russell Beattie: Mobile TV is a Reality

Russell has something to say about mobile TV:

"What I want to say is this: Mobile TV is a reality. Whether it’ll be a rampaging success or not, no one can say for certain, but the technology is real, the rollouts are happening right now, and it’s not going away any time soon.

In terms of a business, maybe consumers will accept commercials on their phones - which will allow cheaper subsidized programming - or maybe they’ll hate them - which will lead to more HBO-like channels instead. Maybe people will love Video Podcasts, maybe they’ll think they suck. Maybe people will like per-show purchases like iTunes, maybe they’ll demand all-you-can-eat subscriptions. Starting to get my point? No one really knows."

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Top Mobile Search Terms

MocoNews points to this press release from Jump Tap on top mobile search terms.

From the press release:

For the month of December 2005, the type of search for the top 100 queries included:

  • 27% Categories. Top 3 terms searched: Christmas, Hockey, WWE (Worldwide Wresting Entertainment).
  • 22% Adult. Top 3 terms searched: Sex, Porn, Girls.
  • 20% Artist Name. Top 3 terms searched: Eminem, 50 Cent, Madonna.
  • 14% Game. Top 3 terms searched: Tetris, Poker, Snake.
  • 9% Music Genre. Top 3 terms searched: Country, Themes, Reggae.
  • 5% Music Title. Top 3 terms searched: My Humps, Jingle Bell, Gold Digger.
  • 3% Website Names. Top 3 terms searched: Google, MSN, Yahoo.

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O2 Mobile TV Trial

Via Mobile Weblog, early results from the O2 mobile TV tests.

From the Article:

"Some 80% of people would subscribe to a mobile TV service, according to a trial of almost 400 users with specially adapted handsets, conducted in Oxford, UK, by mobile operator O2.

Participants in the trial, which has run in partnership with Arqiva, a broadcasting company, had access to 16 TV channels, including the BBC, Channel 4, Five and ITV. Viewers were found to be watching an average of three hours of mobile TV each week, with peak demand during the morning and evening commute periods and increased viewing during lunchtime hours.

O2 said 76% of participants indicated they would take up mobile TV services within the next year, while 83% confirmed satisfaction with their current service while around 33% expressed interest in bespoke mobile TV programming. The operator said 36% of respondents were people who used the service mostly at home, in comparison to 28% using the service while on the move and 23% using it at university or work."

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Friday, January 13, 2006

iCell MVNO

Via Slashdot, this ars technica article talks about a recent trademark registered by Apple and how it points to a cell phone product.

From the article:

"Last week, Apple filed four applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office for the term "Mobile Me." According to the filings, Mobile Me relates to a number of goods and services, including "telecommunication services for the dissemination of information by mobile telephone, namely the transmission of data to mobile telephones" along with "music players," "digital video players," "MP3 players," and "software related thereto."

Getting into the cellular services business is easier these days, thanks to the likes of Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Cingular, and their support for Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO). An MVNO is a company that leases bandwidth, infrastructure, and time from a carrier and then rebrands and resells it. The best-known MVNO in the US is arguably Virgin Mobile, which also operates on Sprint's network.

As this would fall into the category of "unannounced products," we don't expect Apple will have much to say about "Mobile Me." But don't be surprised if there's another special event in the next couple of months. After all, Jobs concluded his Macworld keynote with "see you soon."

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Current TV Survival Guide (update)

Current TV launches a Survival Guide for producers, contents include: Storytelling, Gear, Shooting, Editing and Compression.

Update: I have done all of the things covered in this guide for years, but often not all at the same time! I can't say enough good things about this tutorial. If you have the faintest interest in shooting video watch every segment.

Even if you don't want to shoot video, take a look at some of the "citizen journalism" taking place.

to the story telling part and select the screening room. A Current TV critic tells you why videos were accepted. I like listening to the commentary but you can turn it off below the video and watch the original. Try on "My Name is Jamie" for size. Powerful stuff.

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The Power of Mobility for Business

Russ McGuire, Director of Business Strategy for Sprint has another post up about mobility. This time it is the power of mobility for businesses.

From the post:

The power of mobility can be realized in many ways. In the simplest of terms, mobility can help my people do their jobs with higher quality and higher efficiency while reducing my expenses. Still thinking generically, here are some ways to think about mobility creating power:
  • Mobility enables me to reduce wasted time and effort.
  • Mobility enables me to be more responsive to my customers.
  • Mobility enables me to have better information available to make good decisions.
  • Mobility enables me to communicate better with my co-workers, suppliers, and customers.
  • Mobility enables me to correlate information in real-time as I need it, where I need it, to complete tasks quickly.
  • Mobility enables me to do my job in the location that makes me most productive and successful.


Nokia Smartphone Usage

Russell Beattle points to this presentation from Nokia about Smartphone usage.

Russell says, "The key takeaway for me was that browsing is the number one (by far) mobile application that uses data, and interestingly, carrier decks only account for 50% of the traffic.

I personally think there is a massive vacuum right now in mobile-focused web sites. The numbers are clearly showing there’s a growing trend for people to access sites remotely, sites need to really get up to speed in making their existing content more mobile friendly, and to do something innovative and compelling for those mobile browser users who may have different use cases for the information they’re trying to retrieve."

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MSV buys Satellites

Via Phonescoop, a press release: Boeing Co. (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) on Wednesday announced its biggest satellite order in nine years, valued at more than $500 million and less than $1 billion, to build the backbone of a new hybrid satellite-cellular communications network.

From MSV's site:

"The network will be based on MSV’s patented Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) technology, which combines the best of satellite and cellular technology. It will deliver reliable, advanced and ubiquitous voice and data coverage throughout North and South America.

“MSV is creating a critical communications asset representing a huge step forward for mobile satellite services,” said Howard Chambers, Vice President of Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems.

With ATC, the satellites work in tandem with terrestrial based stations that provide coverage and capacity in urban areas where satellite signals are frequently blocked. The contract with Boeing also provides for the delivery of the related ground based beam forming system and other ground design elements, to provide the most advanced beam forming flexibility and interference cancellation unprecedented in commercial satellite systems. These technological advances will allow MSV optimal deployment of its ATC technology and spectrum utilization."

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Muni Wireless

I was going to try and pull together a big post on Muni Wireless with comments, but it looks like I am not going to be able to string it together with a lot of prose. Here goes a link fest.

UK Parliament members demand Wifi:

"We recommend that wireless Internet access should be provided in those areas likely to be of most use to members," the report said. "We appreciate the security and viability issues around wireless Internet access but believe that it should be possible to overcome these difficulties."

Popular Mechanics say IEEE 802.16 is one of the top inventions of the past 25 years.

"The geniuses at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers publish a wireless metropolitan area network standard that functions like Wi-Fi on steroids. An 802.16 antenna can transmit Internet access up to a 30-mile radius at speeds comparable to DSL and cable broadband. When it all shakes out, 802.16 could end up launching developing nations into the digital age by eliminating the need for wired telecommunications infrastructure."

GlobeTel will install WiMAX in Russia's 30 largets cities.

Uli Altvater, President of GlobeTel Wireless stated: "This is a very large undertaking that will utilize the skills or more than 1,000 people in Russia, Europe and the United States. This transaction will catapult GlobeTel to a position as one of the top two suppliers and operators of wireless networks in the world."

Om Malik points to wireless clouds in Britain and Paris.

"The Cloud, a UK-based company that operates wifi hotspots is planning to build city wide WiFi clouds in London, Manchester and seven other cities. The network, is supposed to reach a total of 4 million people, and would also compete with incumbent phone and mobile carriers. The Cloud has stuck up partnerships with the likes of Skype and Nintendo for its WiFi network. I wonder if the Europeans once again have cracked the municipal wireless code: private enterprise upstarts with lower cost structure fighting it out with deep pocketed incumbents!"

"The Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, believes in giving free access to the Internet and wants to push development of a city wide telecom network. His intentions were first reported in Nouvel Observateur, quite a serious newspaper. James Enck says, “The article refers to a city-wide network, and also seems to suggest that the Mayor has aspirations of offering free narrowband internet access and local telephony to residents of more modest economic means.”

You can also see Om's broadband Wiki.

Techdirt has the goods on why there is a need for Muni Wireless.

"Glenn Fleishman points to a Washington Monthly article that does an excellent job of highlighting why there's a need in the US for municipal broadband services -- because incumbent providers do an inadequate job of serving many communities, and regulators let them get away with it.

Both the original article and Fleishman's post point out examples of incumbent providers refusing to invest in offering services wanted and needed in some place, and also the double-standard the companies have when they object to localities spending public money to compete with them, but gladly accept all kinds of tax breaks, subsidies and incentives from local governments to support their own businesses.

The lack of real competition in the broadband market has allowed it to stagnate and lets providers get away with subpar offerings and high prices. Clearly the current regulatory situation isn't doing anything to spark competition -- far from it -- leaving underserved localities little option but to jump into things themselves. It's not a question of free markets or
government interference; incumbent providers just don't want to have to compete, period, regardless of who is their rival."

More from Techdirt on why Wifi isn't the right approach:

"WiFi is a wonderful technology that has done amazing things -- but it was built for local area networks, and stringing it out to cover entire cities is simply asking for problems.

The unfortunate part of this story, however, is that anti-muni-broadband forces, usually bankrolled by incumbent telcos, will quickly latch onto this story to suggest that all muni-broadband fails. Of course, as Glenn Fleishman pointed out just days ago, when it looked like Lompoc was on its way to launching the WiFi offering, the real goal of the city is to offer muni-fiber."

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mobile TV Huge by '09

TV Week has an article about a report done by Horizon Media on mobile TV.

From the article:

"Mobile TV in the U.S. will become an $800 million business in 2009 from a $16 million business in 2004, Yankee Group estimates.

The rise will likely be caused by the expected balloon in the number of U.S. cellphone customers who watch TV programs on their phones. While 1.2 million customers fit that bill in 2005, 15 million people will watch TV on the phone in 2009, predicts research company eMarketer-.com. By 2009, more than 30 million wireless subscribers will be watching commercial TV and video on a handheld device, research firm IDC projects. Another research firm, In-Stat, says that figure will be closer to 20 million customers."

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Om's CES reflections

Om posts his thinking about CES 2006. Overall he was not too impressed but leaves us with four things to ponder.
  1. The lack of networking standards and ease with which data can be shunted inside of the living room, will be the big obstacle that needs to be overcome before living room can be truly geeked out.
  2. Why set-top box is the method of mass deployment when it comes to cool technologies.
  3. The content announcements from CBS are just a way to appease Wall Street and showing investors that they are trying to do something to capture the “Internet” opportunity.
  4. Silicon Valley’s dismal record of producing CE devices. Despite the perceived success of TiVo, the only successful mass market CE device from Silicon Valley in recent years has been iPod.

Point, Counterpoint: Sprint's Law of Mobility

"Things that make you go wireless" has a guest blogger, Russ McGuire, director of business strategy at Sprint. Russ made up the Law of Mobility:

"But what is a modern technology age without a law observing the fundamental truths that shape financial realities that will redefine our lives and our work over the coming years? Since such a law doesn’t appear to exist for the coming age, let me propose the Law of Mobility: That the value of any product increases with it's mobility. (Where mobility is the percent of time the customer can fully use the product.)

The age of mobility is being brought on because we've reached that moment in time when the cost of adding mobility to any prduct (at least any information-rich or digitizable product) has fallen (thanks to Moore's Law) to the point well below the value of adding mobility, meaning that mobility is now being built into every product."


The Portal Wars

MocoNews pulls some highlights from a report by The Shosteck Group called "The Portal Wars: Where Next for the Mobile Internet."

From the post:

"The prediction is that users will have greater control over their ability to access, store and interact with content, devices and services, facilitated by a Personal Service Portal which will have three main attributes:
  • On-demand: combination of storage on local device or the network as well as broadcast capability
  • Relevant: right time, right place, right price
  • Interactive: a more engaging and immersive experience"

“This future vision is one where the user is in control – choosing services and content on-demand that are relevant to them, that meet their needs at any given time, where ever they are, at a price that fits the purpose, using the device they choose,” stated John Darnbrough, Senior Associate of The Shosteck Group.

Jane Zweig, Chief Executive Officer of The Shosteck Group, said that mobility will be an important cog in the connected wheel rather than the center, and the group said that “operators must accept that the premium for mobility is significantly lower than they believe it is today even though few alternatives will compete on a like for like basis with mobile networks for many years, if at all. The mobility premium is not yet dead, but it will come under increasingly heavy attack”.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Nick's 2006 predictions (with strong authentication)

Nick at Wikid Systems has some security oriented predictions for 2006. Its a follow up to his post at Digital ID World.

Here are a couple:
  • GYMA (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL) and ebay into the identity game.

  • Patent issues with SAML will hamper it's adoption by the GYMA crew.

  • Mutual authentication becomes a must have for all financial websites.

  • Brokerage accounts will increasingly be targeted by phishers and fraudsters.

  • Digital signing and/or transaction authentication will become a hot-topic again as banks and brokerage houses look to thwart session-hijacking trojans.


More NFC payment talk

Another article about NFC from the International Herald Tribune.

From the article:
If NFC's backers - which include heavyweights like Sony, Motorola, Nokia, MasterCard and Visa - are successful, people will use their cellphones as electronic wallets to make purchases and to buy tickets on trains and in movie theaters and to receive additional information from billboards and other points.
"This technology has the potential of becoming very widespread," said Lauri Pesonen, who is in charge of NFC consumer solutions at Nokia and is a board member of the NFC Forum, the industry group backing the technology.

The Finnish cellphone maker Nokia already sells a separate shell with an NFC chip that clicks onto one of its regular phones. It is available directly from Nokia, but as soon as the market seems set to take off, Nokia is prepared to start inserting the chip directly into its phones.
"Nokia has always put a lot of effort into the usability of mobile phones," Pesonen said. "This kind of intuitive interaction with the mobile phone ties very well into that."

"New technology like NFC is good and all," said Nils Molin, a Stockholm-based analyst with the research company International Data Corp. "But for it to overcome man's innate resistance, strong user-friendly applications and a real demand have to be in place."

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Mobile Media usage

MocoNews points to this survey on Net Imperative and breaks it down for us.

From the post:
  • 33% of males use MMS, while 40% of females use MMS
  • 38% of males use WAP, compared to 26% of females using WAP (overall, one third of mobile owners use the channel)
  • 61% of 18-24 year olds and 50% of 25-34 year olds having recently browsed the mobile Internet
  • 48% of WAP surfers visited one or more ringtone sites in the last three months…41% visited news sites, 36% games sites, 33% sports sites, 31% entertainment sites, 28% weather sites and 6% adult sites.

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Yahoo! Connected Life SVP Interview

MocoNews has an interview with Marco Boerries, SVP - Connected Life, Yahoo!

From the interview:

Q: What happens when you’re not online?

Marco: I’m living on a “connected life” solution since over two years now, that’s when we started customer trials … it becomes addictive. The interesting thing is we’re hardly ever disconnected because my mobile is always there most of the time The ubiquity of connectivity is just going to increase. .… Obviously this is just the beginning, this revolution is not going to be over in a year or so, but if you think about the consumer services you can do if you have a fully connected world — that the consumer controls, that’s the important thing, you are the programmer, not that somebody is pushing out stuff constantly to you, you decide when you want to see and what you want to see — I think that’s a great opportunity.


The changes ahead for TV

The New York Time's John Markoff has a great article up on the coming changes in television called "Coming Soon to TV Land: The Internet, Actually." Touching on several themes followed here, John says, "Instead of tuning into programs preset and determined by the broadcast network or cable or satellite TV provider, viewers would be able to search the Internet and choose from hundreds of thousands of programs sent to them from high-speed connections."

More from the article:

"At one level it's clear that the dam has broken," said Paul Otellini, chief executive of Intel. "There's an inevitable move to use the Internet as a distribution medium, and that's not going to stop."

"Appointment-based television is dead," said William Randolph Hearst III, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm. "The cable industry is really in danger of becoming commoditized."

Still, critics charge that the telephone companies are intentionally crippling the Internet capabilities of their services to appear much like traditional closed cable offerings.

"They're trying to construct their own separate world to keep their walled garden," said Robert Frankston, a personal computer industry pioneer and former Microsoft researcher.

"They believe that if you control the user interface you make more money than if you are a dumb pipe," said Rob Glaser, chief executive of RealNetworks, the Internet music and video service provider.

"You need to begin with something that is easy to use and not overwhelming," said Christine A. Heckart, marketing general manager for Microsoft's TV division. "If we do this well you will have an experience much like TV today, only better."

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Verizon Music Store

Its everywhere and now its here too.

Via Daily Wireless:
  • Customers purchasing songs from the V CAST Music Store from the phone get two copies of every song -- one for the phone and one for the Windows XP PC.
  • Purchases from the PC cost $0.99 and may be transferred via USB cable to the phone; purchases from the handset cost $1.99 for both copies.
  • V CAST Music customers will also be able to purchase entire albums via their Windows XP PCs; prices vary by album.
  • One million songs will be available on V CAST Music by spring; songs will be from artists at major music labels (Warner Music Group, EMI Music, Universal and Sony/BMG), as well as independent providers (The Orchard).
  • Several V CAST Music-enabled phones will be available at launch, including the LG VX8100 and the Samsung a950.
  • V CAST Music launches on January 16, 2006, and will be available through Verizon Wireless' 1,900 Communications Stores and Circuit City locations and online at http://www.verizonwireless.com.
  • The V CAST Music Online Store will be located at: http://www.verizonwireless.com/music

More Two Tiered Internets

From a subscription requiring article on the WSJ, more on the push for a two tiered Internet.

From the article:

"The phone companies envision a system whereby Internet companies would agree to pay a fee for their content to receive priority treatment as it moves across increasingly crowded networks. Those that don't pay the fee would find their transactions with Internet users -- for games, movies and software downloads, for example -- moving across networks at the normal but comparatively slower pace. Consumers could benefit through faster access to content from companies that agree to pay the fees.

"They want to charge us for the bandwidth the customer has already paid for," said Jeffrey Citron, chief executive of Vonage. Customers who already pay a premium for high-speed Internet access, he said, will end up paying even more if online services pass the new access charges to consumers. "The customer has to pay twice. That's crazy."

Smaller companies say they may not be able to afford paying for premium network access. And as the phone companies start to offer their own Internet-based content such as video and Internet-based phone services, they could gain an unfair advantage over rivals who are paying them fees to offer the same services.

The looming battle between phone companies and Internet content providers has parallels with the fight between local and long-distance phone companies of the 1990s, when upstarts sought free access to the regional phone companies' networks. Until recently, phone companies were required to treat all data sent across their high-speed networks equally and without discrimination. But last year, a Supreme Court decision cemented the FCC's authority to decide the rules for broadband Internet lines. The agency promptly deregulated Internet services, dropping rules that prevented the type of pricing plans now being proposed.

Critics of these ideas say that smaller Internet companies will be squeezed out of being able to offer their products at all. "They want to radically change the way they sell telecommunications service," said Mark Cooper, research director of the Washington-based Consumer Federation of America. "We're afraid that they're simply going to pick and choose who's going to win and lose."


Google to Sell Video with miniOS kit

From Larry Page's keynote address today, Google will sell video and offer a miniOS software bundle.
  • Pay-per-download content through Google Video, including programming from CBS and the NBA.
  • "Google Pack," a software bundle that looks, walks, and quacks a lot like the beginnings of a web OS.
New York Times reviews Yahoo! and Google's new offerings here (free link.)

From the Motely Fool:

"So, go ahead, call me loopy. High on caffeine. Flat-out cracked. Or just plain wrong. But Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google's co-founders, famously wrote in the company's IPO prospectus that they might make investments that seem "very speculative or even strange." That's exactly the kind of environment where logical extremes are born. Like, you know, a Window-less, Web-driven, Google PC."


Russell Beattie's Yahoo! GO excitement

Russel is excited about Yahoo! Go. I will update as he does but for now he points to the coming podcast by CEO Terry Semel, and these articles in the MSN:

Yahoo Go

MocoNews has a great rundown of the new Yahoo Go initiative.

From MocoNews:
  • Yahoo Go Mobile is a set of communications and media applications, including Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Messenger, Photos, calendar, address book, Web and image search, news, sports and finance. The services will be preloaded on Nokia Series 60 mobile phones and available in 10 countries worldwide, and available to Cingular and AT&T customers in U.S.
  • Yahoo Go TV, which will be available before April, will make entertainment-related services available on any PC-connected TV through a small downloadable app. The services include local and video search, including access to content from CNN and MTV, movie trailers, and other info from My Yahoo. The service will be free but will have ads.
  • Yahoo Go Desktop brings a suite of services to PCs that do not rely on a browser, essentially bringing all the Yahoo apps and services on the desktop.

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Mobile Television Devices

Gizmodo has been busy covering the CES show. They highlight Samsung's new portable TV device called the DMB-T750.

From the post:

"The thing I love about this DMB-T750 portable 7-inch LCD TV set from Samsung is it’s retro-futuristic style. I mean, it’s all shiny white like an iPod with those clear buttons. At the same time, it’s got a handle—and when is the last time you saw anyone using a portable terrestrial TV who wasn’t at a football or baseball game?"

Good to see 2006 shapeing up to be the year TV goes wireless...again.

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