Monday, September 25, 2006

Melted Chocolate

"The London Design Festival is an annual event to celebrate and promote London and the UK’s design creativity", and what better way to do this then to hold a competition and give away the iconic British Korean designed phone. They probably tried to find a British phone but were left with a Sendo or some old rotary landline job and figured the hip fashion concious designers of the London design scene wouldn't be so keen on that. Should be giving away Wasp T-12 Speechtools... now that would be well weapon. My coffee's with a scrambled egg.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hithero Unknown Definition Of Mainstream

Carnival of the Mobilistas: "A perrenial thought leader, Ajit Joakar of Open Gardens kicks off with proof positive of another accurate prediction: SoonR or later, Mobile Ajax had to become mainstream .. "

Bullish language, given that some company has launched a service which only runs on the latest version of Opera - maybe "mainstream" actually means "a few hundred members of the mobile blogger elite".

The use of "had" in the original article's title almost inspired me to write about it - I for one don't believe maybe a few hundred potential users counts as mainstream - but with Carnival doing its usual to amplify the speculative into the done deal, I feel again I have to point out that they are doing a disservice to their readers.

One man's "perrenial thought leader" is another man's unrealistic dreamer. Predicting the future can be a very valuable exercise and can help drive the world forward; it's a useful exercise, but you have to avoid hubris and only declare yourself proven right in the mainstream when you actually are proven right in the mainstream, not just when someone launches the first service onto the market which approximates your ideas.

As predicting the future goes, mobile AJAX is about as obvious as you can get - after all AJAX is pretty simple stuff, a few basic browser extensions wrappedn up in some Web 2.0 wank goodness. When mobile data becomes really really really cheap and really really fast, and mobile phones have lots and lots of processing power, it will fill a valuable niche in the mobile services value chain. That's it though. It won't solve device fragmentation, it won't be magically easier to use ro faster or better than many other ways of providing mobile content, and at current speeds and prices it will have to work very very hard to prove its worth.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

More Top Content Pricing Action

Sprint have just announced you can buy a full length film to watch on your mobile for between $3.99 and $5.99 - you are then generously allowed between 24 hours and a week to watch the film. Films include some new and old films from some studios, it doesn't really matter which.

They have presumably carefully thought about the price, and then quadrupled it to make it uncompetitive when compared to a DVD of the same film, which would be higher quality, viewable in a relaxed environment on a screen that doesn't give you eye-strain and/or run out of batteries at a crucial moment, and usable for as long as you want - all for about the same price from any DVD shop (a little while after launch - I tend to pay £5 for my DVDs which usually equates to $5 in the US).

They have two problems here:

Firstly, who in there right mind wants to watch a 2 hour feature film on their mobile? It's ergonomically very awkward - you have to hold it steady somewhere with a strong signal for a long period avoiding direct sunlight etc etc - and it'll trash your batteries. I can understand watching a 2-10 minute clip if you're stuck and bored, but 2 hours?

Secondly, that price point is absolutely ridiculous for a short term, low quality rental. Blockbuster offer as many DVDs as you want through the post starting at $5.99/month, and I'm sure a single film costs less in a shop. You are in theory paying for the convenience of streaming the film to your phone without having to go anywhere, but I don't see why you'd do it.

The one hope for this initiative, where it really could take off, is with a phone that can output to a TV - so rather than go to Blockbuster, you just plug in your phone to the nearest TV and watch away. Once the market is full of WiFi UPNP handsets and TVs, and once they become standardised and genuinely child's play to set up unlike all existing WiFi initiatives ever, this could be great. I can really see people wanting this service, if the price point is competitive with a normal rental and with broadband video-on-demand services (stop mentioning Kazaa at the back). However, what chance of this happening in the next few years?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Operators Apparently Don't Provide a 152% Value Add In Music Retail Chain, Say Customers

But then, who cares what the customers want. Operators really do feel they deserve the lion's share of anythign sold through a mobile phone, but music companies aren't going to reduce their fees, so we end up with $2.50 (Sprint) vs $.99 (iTunes) for a song. Should anyone be surprised when people don't want to pay this for a DRM-locked single song which is tied to a device the customer will change once a year if they don't lose it first?