Wednesday, October 04, 2006

In the Crystal Ball: Beyond the Ringtones (Media and Wireless)
Attended the excellent TiE-DC event on the topic. DP Venkatesh (CEO, mPortal) did an excellent job of moderating a very knowledgeable panel. A few takeaways for me:
  • consumers are going to continue to own multiple devices, each tailored for a narrow specific use (cell phone, e-mail device, DVD player, gaming device, etc.). At times, packaged products will bring some functions together but will frequently diverge as technology evolves.
  • as wireless broadband (EVDO, HSDPA, WiMax, ...) becomes pervasive, great opportunities will open for new applications
  • it is very hard to predict what service becomes a real business (who could have guessed that customers will pay real money for ringtones and wallpapers) on their cell phones. The vendors are looking to experiment with many applications to find the answer.
  • gaming may never become big on the tiny screens of PDAs and cell phones
  • enterprises and consumers want control of their devices, content and applications
Talked to someone from Disney. Asked the obvious question: Why did ESPN Mobile fail and why will Disney Mobile be successful. I was assured that the services are different and that Disney Mobile had a great shot at success. We will wait and see.

We also discussed the need for standardization of services above the current common denominator - SMS. No one mentioned IMS - am not sure where that will end up. Lack of interoperability and standards hurt everyone.

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