Just when everybody thought it was safe to jump back into the mobile wireless waters and go buy some wireless spectrum – remember, Comcast has been there before with a service that it sold to Cingular because it didn’t fit into the company’s overall business strategy – content and applications developers are demonstrating that just delivering mobile voice is not enough. Even if, as everyone supposes, mobile voice will be part of some grand fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) scheme that crosses cable networks’ wireline and wireless networks, it won’t be enough to just deliver voice services. The confluence of several factors – maturing technology that gives content providers a chance to dump applications directly into mobile devices and a severe case of anticipatory anxiety on the part of mobile operators who see their markets eroding – has opened an opportunity for companies like Pulse Mobile to develop and market unique applications to both the service providers, and, if they’re not interested, the end users. While Pulse could potentially go over-the-top and push its applications to end users without carrier permission, it sees more value in building relationships with mobile guys and helping them fend off competition. Video text Pulse Mobile’s technology “allows end users to take text messages from their handsets and/or a picture they’ve taken with their camera phone, submit it to a service and then deliver that to another mobile recipient as a personalized, animated talking message,” said the company’s president, Jeff Lipton. “The focus of the company is to provide a hosted platform to mobile operators worldwide to deploy these very lightweight, data-driven user personalization messaging applications.” Mobile carriers, he said, see the software’s potential as a services value-add. “The challenge isn’t so much the technology or even the billing … it’s marketing services, (and) this is what the carriers are able to do effectively,” Lipton said. “Even though there’s all this talk about the walls of the garden coming down and more offerings that are off the carrier decks … the reality is that the convenience of being able to purchase content just by clicking ‘yes’ on your mobile device and having it show up on your monthly phone bill … is going to retain a large degree of value for quite some time.” Riding the pipe In the end, Lipton predicted, the carriers will cease to be service providers – even with neat little gimmicks like the Pulse Mobile software on their networks: “They are going to become pipes. I think it’s inevitable in the long run.” In the meantime, they’re going to use software like Pulse Mobile’s (a demo can be seen at (http://www.getveepers.com) to fend off looming competition. “The carriers are looking for differentiated offerings to their subscribers, looking for data-driven applications, personalization and loyalty-enhancing applications,” he said. “They’re looking to monetize the millions of camera phones that are out there. We have a technology that is transformative to user behavior in terms of capturing images and then delivering them over the network in this highly personalized way.” – Jim Barthold

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Lifetime announced “Gift of a Lifetime,” part of the net’s pro-social giveback initiative partnering with charities to identify five women and their families to receive the “gift of a lifetime”

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