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 1020 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.