Googleberry And The Mobile Future

Google has found a way to make mobile phones more like a Blackberry so customers can receive email on their cell phones and up to five times faster. YouTube is expected to have a mobile service within the next year. Cingular is joining the mobile companies that make it possible to download music on the fly and there are those who think Apple will indeed turn an iPod into an iPhone sooner or later. Boston University is partnering with Amp'd Mobile to create a class where students produce episodic (short) videos which Amp'd (backed by Qualcomm and Viacom) then distribute. The videos are shot only with cell phone cameras in spite of the sound and video quality problems. Amp'd charges its subscribers 45 cents per download or $20 for unlimited access. And that brings up an excellent point. Will consumers 18-35 really pay for mobile video? Will they respond to mobile ads instead? Early research is not real encouraging. M:Metrics shows the response rate in the U.S. at only 7% compared to 29% overseas. We're back to the same dilemma. The next generation doesn't do paid subscriptions real well and if this research is any indication their response to mobile ads is only slightly better than only perform slightly better than Internet ads. Delivering mail, music and video is a no-brainer, but the challenge is to find a way to make it profitable. One clue might be to study Gen Y. They want what they want even if they won't pay for it. I'm less optimistic about the future of mobile advertising than I am about the future of text and pay. The mobile industry may have all they can get right now -- charging users for texting and for service plans with added benefits. But competition is forcing some carriers to make texting free and being on a college campus I am always aware of how fickle this generation can be. Technology is great. Now, go make it a business.