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A View from Brad King

Wireless Multimedia's Brave New World

Consumers want multimedia capabilities on their phones. And companies want them to have it.

  • August 9, 2006

The world of mobile media is changing not only how we interact with our digital entertainment, but also what we expect out of our news programs.

Eschewing the business market, Sony will release a wireless entertainment device in September that the company hopes will garner a wide customer base by focusing on music playback, picture viewing, instant messaging, email, and Web browsing. Dubbed the “Mylo” (“my life online”), it will retail for $350 – but unlike devices such as the Treo smart phone and the Blackberry, the Mylo will not have any phone functionality. Instead, it has been created specifically with mobile entertainment in mind, according to this Reuters article.

Asking consumers to pay for an expensive device that has functionalities already on smart phones is a gamble for Sony. And if the company’s experiment with the PSP – the mobile game device that drew critical praise while lagging in sales – is any indication, the Mylo isn’t a guaranteed winner.

Still, consumers continue migrating their lives online. That means, according to this BBC article, they want to share pictures and videos with their friends while on the go. And the increasing power and performance demands needed to make pictures sharper and videos smaller, and thus easier to stream and download, has forced some manufacturers – such as Sony – to consider breaking out functionalities away from the phone.

The unintended consequence of this mobile media-capturing capability, though, is that news organizations are looking for ways to tap “citizen journalists” to contribute to news-gathering efforts.

CNN announced that it was teaming up with blip.tv to help ordinary citizens upload video footage they capture to the 24-hour news network, according to this article on TechWeb.

From the article:

The Internet media company allows content creators to distribute videos through blogs, iTunes, video aggregators, search engines and more. Blip.tv lets anyone create and maintain sole ownership of their content and supports Creative Commons licensing. The company allows producers to opt-in to advertising and splits ad revenues with them.

Regardless of the Mylo’s success, it’s hard to believe that services like blip.tv – driven by an ever-increasing number of wireless devices – won’t continue to flourish. After all, it’s hard to believe that 168 companies would be willing to fork over $15 billion for access to wireless spectrum if this market wasn’t going to grow.

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