The Skeptic Questions Interactive Mobile TV and Cell Phones as Mini Computers

Mae : Wireless Mobility Blog
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The Skeptic Questions Interactive Mobile TV and Cell Phones as Mini Computers

A couple of items caught my eye this morning, both of which relate to the ways in which mobile technology is changing the way we live, work, and play. One is a study commissioned by Nokia, the other is a news story citing Samsung’s predictions about the future of mobile phones.

I take these news items, by the way, with a grain of salt, since in both cases the info is being provided by companies that make the technology in question—and thus have an obvious stake in the matter.

First up is a study Nokia commissioned from London School of Economics, about the impact of mobile television, specifically on the broadcasting and advertising industries.

The report predicts that, unlike broadcast TV, mobile TV will be characterized by a more personalized experience for each user.

“Users will be able to receive content anytime, anywhere, choose what is most relevant to them, and even create and upload their own television content, while content providers and advertisers will be able to tailor their offerings more specifically to the user,” Nokia said in a press release about the report.

User-generated content—like that found on YouTube—also will be a key trend in the mobile TV market, Nokia said.

Successful advertisers, the report said, will adapt to this new paradigm both with better-targeted ads, and by catering to the short attention span of viewers by displaying 5-7 second ads.

When it comes to what genres of programming will be most popular among mobile TV users, the Nokia-commissioned report puts news, entertainment, sports, music, and children’s shows on the list.

Hmm… doesn’t that kind of sound a lot like current TV offerings, but just available on the-the-go?

I think the format of the programming, as predicted by Nokia, is more interesting; the study says that mobile TV programs will be both shorter and more interactive than current offerings.

The shorter part makes sense to me—if a person is watching a show on an iPod while waiting in doctor’s office, riding the train, or even (heaven forbid) killing time while sitting in traffic, it needs to be a quick program or the user’s attention probably will wander.

I’m not so sure about interactivity—unless we’re talking about gaming rather than TV viewing. For me, at least, watching TV has always been a passive activity, a way to escape (and maybe learn something) without having to expend much (if any) mental effort. Why should that change if I am carrying a show around on a portable player?

Okay, moving along to Samsung’s mobile phone predictions...

In a Channel NewsAsia article today, reporter Johnson Choo quotes Samsung as saying that it predicts mobile phones will soon outperform computers.

The company says that manufacturing handsets incorporating many features—such as cameras, music players, and mobile TV players—will help make mobile phones even more useful, and even more successful in terms of sales.

Samsung added that its brand of wireless broadband, WiBro, is a key feature of tomorrow’s mobile phones. Future phones also will includes features like 1 GHz processors, 10 megapixel cameras, as much as 20GB of storage, digital TV receivers, and GPS navigation.

The result, Samsung says, will be a “true all-in-one handset.”

The timing of this article is interesting, as my husband I just last night were talking about ways to get away from our computers more—and one concept we came up with was to adopt more single-function devices, like iPods, that do one thing well and don’t present the temptation to get involved in other projects.

While I can see the allure of a cool handheld that does it all, I have to wonder why if most consumers really are interested in performing true computing functions on a device that so small they can only type with their thumbs, and with a screen so small they have do a lot of squinting and scrolling to see everything.

Why not just carry around a small, light laptop instead, and grab an iPod when you want to listen to music, or your mobile phone when you want to make a call?

What do you think? Are mobile phones destined to become miniature computers? And will mobile TV be interactive?

Feedback for The Skeptic Questions Interactive Mobile TV and Cell Phones as Mini Computers

1 Comment

Here's what I think about both of these (very interesting) topics. Firstly, I agree with you about mobiles and computers. I'm not a fan, myself, of a portable device that apparently does 'everything.' Mobiles may outperform computers in terms of sales, but they will probably never outperform computers in the sense of performance. I, for one, don't like to have my phone as a portable music player.
Then, with regards to TV, I think they have to really change their thinking there. Firstly, no one wants to subscribe to a service with advertising. If we want short videos, we'll just use our mobiles to access youtube. That's the beauty of that service. I think they will need to rethink a lot of what they're saying there, the public won't really be interested in that.