Some Important Trends The Wireless Content Industry Is Missing

from the how-the-world-works dept

VC Martin Tobias has been thinking about mobile content a lot lately and has written up some short, but worth reading, items that show why many companies in the mobile content business are heading down the wrong path. First, the realization that the purpose of a mobile phone is to interact with others. Everyone who is viewing the mobile phone as another device to receive broadcast style content pushed from content providers isn’t going to get very far. People buy mobile phones to connect with each other — by voice or by text (and, in a few cases, by photo or video). Thus, any content solution needs to be about helping people better communicate, not blasting them with broadcast content. That is, the successful solutions are about helping people create their own content and sharing it with others. Second, for those who believe mobile content is going to make money because the carriers are keeping the garden walls closed, those garden walls are crumbling. People don’t want to pay for the same information they already get (for free, no less) on their home computer. How many times do we hear that people will pay again for news, sports, stocks and weather? They won’t, because they won’t have to. While full internet access is coming to mobile phones, the same info you access online will be available on phones. However, even more to the point, he’s pointing out the problem with copy protection. If I buy a song, I should have bought that song to play on any device, whether it’s a CD player, my computer, my portable music player, my watch, my phone or who knows where else. The way the carriers (and the recording industry) view things right now, they expect people to buy multiple times — and that’s not going to happen, and that means a lot of companies who think they’re going to make money delivering content to mobile phones won’t be so lucky.

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Comments on “Some Important Trends The Wireless Content Industry Is Missing”

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Uber Techosis says:

No Subject Given

I agree with Mike. I use cell phones to communicate with people when I am not at my desk. Period.

I think there is too much technology being thrown at us these days. I have a new phone (color screen, full music synthesizer, etc) and It takes about 5 seconds for it to “boot”. Shutting down is even longer, as it has to load a mini-movie of a car driving into the sunset while playing some cheesie music.

The only one in my family who likes that phone is my toddler son. He likes playing the different ring tones.

If the industry really wants to make some money, how about meeting this need:

I want asynchronous communication. I press a button for my wife (a speed dial type of button, pre-programmed with her “address”) and speak a message. She will get beeped. All she then has to do is press the listen button, then respond. We each get to take our time responding, and we don’t have to frig around dialing in phone numbers and entering in passwords.

This way I can send a question like “What do you want at the grocery store?”

She responds: “Pick up some soya milk, some organic cheese and some red peppers”.

Conversation done.

Pony99CA (user link) says:


While the primary (and original) purpose of a cell phone is to communicate with others, let’s not confuse that with being the only purpose. Looked at in a broader perspective, a cell phone is about being connected — whether to people or information. If that weren’t the case, the demand for Web access on phones would be a lot less.

Also, what about secondary purposes? A phone doesn’t just have to be about connectivity. Convergence (where it makes sense) allows a phone to be about more than connectivity.

For example, why carry a phone and a MP3 player if the phone can serve as both? Modern phones have screens that seem good enough to display artist and track information, and having the phone integrated allows potential benefits.

Imagine having a stereo headset with a mic and listening to music. If the phone rings, I could take the call and pause the music in one step (and resume in one step when I hang up).

With a separate phone and MP3 player, I’d likely have to have the phone on vibrate to notice the ringing (and hope I could actually feel the vibration), pause my music, take my MP3 player’s headset off, open the phone and put it to my ear.

Maybe Bluetooth headsets would allow something like the integrated first scenario, but you’d still be carrying two devices.

Also, some people may appreciate PIM functionality in their phones. If they didn’t, Smartphones likely wouldn’t sell at all.

If the content provided is unique and worthwhile, I can see some people who might be willing to pay for it. For example, I’m a Michigan football fan. If I’m mobile on game day, I might well be interested in paying for a live audio feed to the game, like Yahoo sports provides on my PC (assuming that I can’t access Yahoo sports directly on my phone).

Simple Simon says:

Re: Convergence

Phones are about talking to people. You want a PIM, buy one.

You want an MP3 player? Buy one.

I DON”T WANT THAT FREAKING CRAP IN MY PHONE, but these days you can’t buy the plane-jane phones, because they JUST DON”T SELL THEM ANYMORE!!!!

All new phones (at least here Canada) have color screens and crap. I want to pay $30 for a phone, but they all start at $300 !!

Take your convergence crap and stick it.

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