Streaming Video Next Big Wireless App

While some marketing experts say ads delivered to wireless devices will not be successful without graphics, wireless providers say they will soon be able to deliver better graphics and streaming video with new technology.

Verizon Wireless, Bedminster, NJ, is teaming with Lucent Technologies to deploy third-generation (3G) wireless Internet services in the United States later this year. 3G technology providers increased wireless bandwith, allowing users to receive graphics, audio and streaming video.

“Deployment of 3G technology adds the convenience of mobility and personalization to the benefit of the high-speed Internet experience,” said Jim Brewington, president of wireless networks group for Lucent.

Sprint PCS has a similar deal and says it will start rolling out its 3G technology to Sprint PCS customers later this year. “3G…opens the door to a whole new set of future mobile applications and possibilities,” said Charles Levine, president of Sprint PCS.

Cingular Wireless said it would start the first phase of 3G rollout in California, Nevada and Washington in the second quarter of this year. The firm says the “always on” service will give users instant access to e-mail, the Internet, games and interactive messaging.

This month, Verizon also launched the first wireless service for “smart phones,” Web-ready, Palm-powered wireless handsets that combine aspects of personal digital assistants (PDAs) and wireless phones. Verizon's Kyocera 6035, which has a larger screen than most wireless phones, will allow users to send e-mail, read e-books, play games, read spreadsheet and word processing programs, and view pictures with an electronic camera on the smart phone.

Motorola, Inc. has invested an undisclosed amount in PacketVideo Corporation, San Diego, to bring full-motion video and audio content to wireless phones, smart phones, PDAs and laptops. The two firms plan to develop technology to deliver news clips, sports highlights, movie trailers and video e-mail to wireless devices.

Simplylook, San Jose, CA, recently introduced software for serving interactive images, such as graphics, maps and stock charts, to wireless devices. Potential uses include interactive gaming, photo greeting cards, advertising, shopping, promotions and digital coupons. Gravitate, San Francisco, teamed with Simplylook to offer Gravitate's Location Precise streaming interactive image service for wireless device users.

“The inherent issue surrounding wireless services has been the poor quality level of images being sent to a wireless device,” said John Trobough, CEO of Gravitate. “We have found that users are requesting richer content, such as maps and detailed images,” he added.

Finland-based Nokia's new deal with RealNetworks will allow Nokia 9210 Communicator wireless phone users to access video and audio clips on their phones. According to Nokia, the deal allows mobile consumers and business professionals to extend relationships with their preferred providers of news, information and entertainment beyond their desktops.

Emblaze, an Israel-based provider of streaming video technology for wireless devices, said its customers will be able to access Microsoft Windows Media content. Users can view streaming video clips without having to download and store the entire video clip, according to Emblaze.

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