Bold Moves at The Daily Telegraph
Microsoft and Innovation, Part II

Mobile Content

Although this cnet article talks generally about mobile content and how it hasn't taken off yet, the focus is more on ringtones, games and images.  Nobody wants to read a book on a phone, right?  So why should we kid ourselves into thinking that's another platform for the written word?

First of all, although a book you read still looks like a silly proposition for a cellphone.  A book you listen to, however, is a completely different opportunity.  News and articles are also likely to become big content areas for mobile devices; I already read a fair amount of news/articles on my Blackberry...when I have a signal.

That leads me to the most important point of all: When talking about content on a mobile device, it's all about location and signal.  If I want to catch up on the latest news on the Path ride from 33rd Street to Hoboken, I can't do that via a live connection because I get no signal underground.  Instead, I'm forced to read through only those bits of content that live locally on my device.  (Btw, what's it going to take for the various mass transit organizations to realize they should work with carriers to enable this access and actually charge the providers for allowing them to connect with their customers? Isn't your local airport picking up a few bucks from TMobile to offer their service in the passenger gate area?  The same should be done on the trains.)

Signal availability is obviously dependent on location, what what specific content needs might be tied to a consumer's location?  How about detailed local information on restaurants, directions, major landmarks, etc.?  I'm talking about the type of things you'd typically find in a printed travel guide.  Who has a killer site today that features the richness of a travel guide with the benefits of a live connection?  It seems the door is wide open for an existing content provider to step in and dominate.  After all, wouldn't you rather have that content available on your cellphone and not have to carry around the book?

Google continues bolstering their efforts on the local front, so it will be an interesting race to see who captures the bulk of the traffic in the end.


Joel Fugazzotto

Clear Channel Radio seems to be moving in the direction that you suggested with their recent launch of the National Mobile Content Program, which gives Cingular subscribers access to both streamed and on-demand content.

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