in Services

The mobile phone as a vending machine

20070402vending.pngWhen you come to mobile content you can find two different types of usage:

  • You don’t want to miss you favorite TV show or soccer game while you are on the move or, sure it happens, if someone has taken ownership of your television set at home.
  • You have some time to spend while commuting, waiting for something and so on.

The first usage type is served by mobile broadcasting or streaming technology. By definition the number of items that can be served by this technology is limited. You cannot have (today) more than 10-20 channels available.

The second one may be served by a number of different technologies like mobile web portals, content search engines or mobile version of web services (flickr, YouTube, etc.).

I have often said that mobile web is going to serve content snacks to users and I am still convinced of this. The majority of the use of the mobile internet will come from these kind of services.

Quick access to content that I may enjoy.

The key is in the last sentence.

“Quick access”: as we have written so many times the usability of a mobile phone cannot be compared with the usability of the personal computer. No way, it will not happen anytime soon. Because of this you need to provide your customers with an easy way to locate and use the content you serve. No surprise that mobile search will be one the next big things in this market. It is critical to the success of the mobile internet.

“to content that I may enjoy”: together with search functionality the next ingredient is recommendation. I would like services to show content that I may like based on my taste. There are some good success stories about this. Just have a look at Music Genome that I know pretty well.
The mobile phone will be a content vending machine with only one risk: it may sell junk food.

Yesterday I noticed that Sony invented the term Minisode [via Joseph Laszlo, a Jupiter Research analyst] referring to a condensed edition (from three and a half to five minutes) of classic shows like Charlie’s Angels, TJ Hooker and Starsky and Hutch. Sony is going to launch this service via an internet service called Minisode Network. (For more information you can read this article on the NY Times web site). The services is not yet targeted at mobile users but it will perfectly fit the scenario I am depicting here.
Why do I blog this? I think that the concept of Mobile Internet needs to be defined and is worth a dedicated post in the future. For the time being this is just an idea I wanted to jot down.