Covering the IFRA Online Trend conference earlier this month in Amsterdam, our friend Rafat Ali notes the interesting ‘Instant News’ project by Sweden’s Sdysvenska Daglbadet newspaper. It involves instant delivery of news through whatever electronic media the user wants at any pre-designated time:
“A user decides, when I’m online, send me breaking news through IM. Between 4 pm and 10 pm (after office and before I go to sleep), send me news on my mobile through SMS, and after that till I am online again in the morning, send the news through e-mail. The service is subscription based, and easy to integrate with payment systems and with the universal ID/logon system, if you have one for your site….”
Covering the TV meets the Web conference in Amsterdam, theFeature notes how:
“The overwhelming success of mobile voting and alert campaigns around popular television programming prove mobile is a natural extension of TV. The numbers speak volumes – literally.
In Spain Operacion Triunfo, a TV talent show, made history as the country’s most ‘interactive event ever,’ reporting 2 million text interactions.
In Ireland, a country with a population of 3 million, 1.3 million viewers interacted via mobile with the program, You’re a Star.
In the UK, the reality show Big Brother 3 reported 10.7 million text interactions, and BBC’s Fame Academy posted 6.9 million.
The big surprise: the U.S. The rousing success of American Idol 2 talent show, which reported 2.5 million text interactions, makes this latecomer potentially the most exciting market worldwide.”
“This is a country who defeated Iraq in three weeks, but still can’t figure out SMS.”
That was how Kevin Werbach described the U.S. in his keynote speech to the TV Meets the Web conference in Amsterdam.
O2 tries out mobile video. 02 becomes the latest mobile firm to trial video clips via phones, including highlights of Arsenal matches.
I’ve written elsewhere about the rise of multimedia mobile telephone access to the Internet and how online publications outside the U.S. are using SMS as a micropayment solution. The South China Morning Post now reports (requires paid access) that China’s three biggest portal sites are using those methods to revive their finances. Chinese government censorship of the wired Internet is ironically helping. More than 3,3000 cybercafes have been shutdown in the People’s Republic, thus many users are switching to their mobile phones for Internet access. China has more than 200 million mobile phone users, all with SMS, many with GPRS ‘always on’ Internet access, and some even with MMS. Sina.com, Sohu.com, and NetEase.com have begun charging them 1.5 yuan (US$0.18) per wireless access. Those aggregate revenues helped NeEase eke out a US$4,600 profit during 2nd Qtr 2002. Sohu posted a $112,000 profit in roughly period, causing a rise in stock price that made it NASDAQ’s fifth biggest gainer this week.
There is a posting on the Online-News listserv today that asks this question about Sybase’s acquition of AvantGo:
Do you foresee this changing your wireless/PDA strategy? (Is that question moot?)
I think it’s sad to see American publishers mistake PDAs as having anything at all to do with wireless. Yes, I myself carry a MDA (Mobile Digital Assistant, a merged PDA and cell phone), but suchwireless devices have almost nothing to do with AvantGo’s type of service. How many truly wireless subscribers does AvantGo have? Hardly any. AvantGo users are chained to their desktop PCs; they must insert their PDAs into a cradle attached to a PC in order to use AvantGo. Nothing wireless there.
An example of real wireless is Short Messaging Services (SMS), delivery of regular Web pages to truly mobile wireless devices, and even the old Wireless Applications Protocol (WAP). For example, one of my clients, Ireland.com, sends one million SMS news messages per month (and earns gross annual revenues of nearly half a million Euros doing this). That’s a wireless strategy. But then, that’s outside of North America, where we’re two years behind everyone else in recognizing what true wireless is and can do.
This blog has lately been quiet because Digital Deliverance is planning to donate the blog to the organization that has been known as the EBook Newsstand Association. That organization, which is dedicate to finding ways for periodical publishers to publish on handheld portable devices, had been changing its name to the Multi-Platform Publishers Association,but may instead disband. We’ll soon know which.
We yesterday mentioned the Handspring Treo as an example of a handheld ‘converged device’ that can handle multiple forms of content and communications. Today’s New York Times Technology section reviews (free registration required to read the review) both the Treo and the Motorola V200, another such device. Perhaps borrowing the term for similar futuristic devices in the Star Trek TV show and movies, reviewer David Pogue calls such devices communicators. Says Pogue, “…the Treo is miles ahead of rival Palm phones and light years ahead of Microsoft’s Pocket PC devices. It’s a tiny, trusty, addictive little gadget, fun to hold, use, and show off word that haven’t sprung to mind since the original Pilot, invented by the same team.
We have long preached that consumers will soon carry a single portable electronic device for all content usages, rather than carry multiple devices (mobile phone, Personal Digital Assistant, MP3 player, laptop PC, digital camera, etc.) that each deal with only one form of content. We’ve also said that many of these converged devices would begin appearing early in 2002.
The South China Morning Post now reports some of the first of these converged devices to reach the market: The Nokia 5510 (mobile phone + SMS & e-mail device + MP3 player + radio receiver + games player), newest Sony iPaqs (handheld PC + PDA + MP3 player) and Sony-Ericcson phone (mobile phone + digital camera + MP3 player + radio receiver), Handspring Treo (PDA + SMS & e-mail device + mobile phone), and NEC phone (video mobile phone + DoCoMo access to the Internet).