Verizon Wireless is getting a head start on CTIA by announcing a new mobile Web site for V Cast video content. The site, m.vcast.com, will allow users to browse content by category, channel, or show and then watch that content on their phone. You'll also be able to access and share content using social networking sites like Twitter. Accessing m.vcast.com will incur normal data charges, but you will need a device with a full HTML browser. At present, that's limited to the LG Dare or the LG Voyager but Verizon says more such devices … Read more
If you're not a fan of the preloaded ringtones on your cell phone, Verizon Wireless is providing an alternative way to get more catchy tunes on your mobile. On the eve of CTIA Fall 2008, the carrier announced Ringback Buddies, a Facebook application that lets you browse, purchase, and manage ringtones and "jukeboxes" from the social networking site.
You can install the Ringback Buddies application by searching for the word "ringback" on Facebook, and from there you can do a number of things. First, you can see what songs your friends like or want, purchase … Read more
Verizon Wireless and The New York Times have just announced a joint effort to offer mobile access to NYTimes.com (which is at mobile.nytimes.com) via several of Verizon's own feature phones. As long as you have a Mobile Web subscription (Unlimited Mobile Web is included with a $15 monthly V Cast VPak package) and a compatible phone, you will get access to the content without an additional charge. The NYTimes.com mobile site includes news of the election coverage, opinion pieces, sports news, and more.
Yet another Verizon Wireless announcement today is the introduction of City ID, an enhanced mobile caller ID that displays the city and state of incoming calls. It'll be available first on all LG Voyager phones, but Verizon hopes to roll it out to more of its phones soon. An application from Cequint, City ID lets customers know a little more information about those frustrating "unknown numbers." But as with a lot of these services, it'll cost you. The City ID application will be free for 15 days for Voyager customers, but after that it's $1.… Read more
In addition to a slew of other service announcements, on Tuesday Verizon Wireless introduced a new application that gives its customers access to a number of social-networking sites right from their cell phones. Dubbed SocialLife, the mobile gateway allows you to manage a number of social-networking sites, including MySpace, PhotoBucket, and MTV's Tr3s. You can view messages, approve or deny friend requests, post comments, or update profiles right from your phone. In addition to the other capabilities, you can upload any camera-phone images to your social-networking site of choice with one click.
Other supported sites include AsianAve, BlackPlanet, FaithBase, … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Mainstream U.S. wireless-phone subscribers are finally using the mobile Web, and everyone from handset makers to mobile operators to application developers to advertisers is gearing up to get a piece of the action.
The growing trend is likely to be a hot topic at the CTIA's Wireless IT & Entertainment trade show, which kicks off Wednesday and runs through Friday at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.
The show, which follows the industry's big gathering in the spring, is expected to attract more than 15,000 attendees, with some 250 companies exhibiting at the show.
The fall CTIA is really a show with dual personalities: one catering to a corporate information technology crowd and the other geared toward entertainment and advertising executives. This mix makes pulling out one central theme a bit of a challenge. But if a theme does exist at this year's show, it's likely that the mobile Web is finally taking off in the United States.
Out of the more than 255 million mobile-phone users in the States, more than 40 million actively use their handsets to surf the Web, according to Nielsen Mobile, which provides consumer research on the telecommunications and mobile-media markets. Nielsen analysts say the mobile Internet has hit a critical mass in the States, but it still has a lot of growth ahead of it.
Growth in the mobile Web is largely being fueled by faster networks. The major domestic cell phone operators have mostly completed building their 3G networks, with the exception of T-Mobile USA. And some, such as Sprint Nextel, are already moving on to a fourth-generation network.
As the 3G network footprints expand, and 4G services come online, users will get an even better surfing experience on their phones, which will lead to more adoption.
Craig McCaw, chairman of new nationwide WiMax network Clearwire, will be one of several speakers taking the stage Wednesday. Clearwire announced earlier this year that it's merging with Sprint Nextel's WiMax division. The venture has gained financial backing from major cable companies, as well as from Google and Intel. McCaw will likely give an update on the planned acquisition and talk about how his company has been growing its current WiMax service.
While faster networks are necessary to spur mobile Web usage, it's not the only element that's important to drive adoption. New multimedia and Web-capable phones that can operate on these faster networks are needed, as are new applications. To spur faster adoption, carriers have been talking about opening up their networks to get new devices and services on their networks more quickly.
During the opening keynote on Wednesday, CEOs from three of the top four wireless operators in the country will talk about how they are making their networks more open. Lowell McAdam, CEO of Verizon Wireless; Robert Dotson, CEO of T-Mobile USA; and Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint Nextel will sit down together in a panel discussion.
Also on Wednesday, Marco Boerries, executive vice president of Connected Life at Yahoo, will take the stage for a keynote address to talk about Yahoo's mobile initiatives. Although it's still early to call the major players, Yahoo has been positioning itself as a dominant player in the mobile market. Its Yahoo Mail is the most used site on the mobile Web, with 14 million unique visitors a month as of May 2008, according to Nielsen Mobile.… Read more
It's September, and that means it's time for the fall version of the CTIA wireless trade show. Thankfully, the CTIA fall show in 2008 will be right in our backyard at Moscone West in San Francisco, so we won't have far to travel. My colleagues Bonnie Cha and Kent German will be on hand to give you the low-down on the latest handsets, News.com's Maggie Reardon and Tom Krazit will be reporting on mobile news, and Download.com's Jessica Dolcourt will give you the scoop on all the latest software and applications for mobile. … Read more
Sprint's Samsung Instinct has taken center stage as CTIA, but the carrier has more to offer in Las Vegas. Monday it also unveiled its first series of QChat phones (see our Sprint QChat slide show for the eye candy), which for the first time offer push-to-talk interoperability between CDMA and iDEN networks. There's no mishmash of competing technologies here. The QChat phones make and receive PTT calls through Nextel's Direct Connect service. Oh, and incidentally, QChat marks the final nail in the coffin of Sprints previous ReadyLink PTT service.
The first two QChat handsets to hit stores … Read more
Updated 2:30 p.m. PDT with comments and photos.
LAS VEGAS--Yahoo announced upgrades to its Yahoo OneSearch product at the CTIA trade show here Wednesday that it says make mobile search smarter, more relevant, and easier to use with voice-activation technology.
Marco Boerries, the company's executive vice president of "connected life," introduced the new Yahoo OneSearch 2.0 during a keynote address, promising "instant answers to any query, not just Web links." This means that search results will expand from traditional hyperlinks into other media--a search for "New York" could yield subway … Read more
Phew! Day 1 of CTIA 2008 is in the bag, and as usual, the opening day provided plenty of action. Here are some of the highlights of the day.
Samsung was certainly a show stopper as it revealed its Samsung Instinct, an iPhone competitor that features a sleek touch screen interface and a boatload of features. Senior Editor Kent German has all the details for you and says it look promising. Kent also got some hands-on time with AT&T's new Motorola Z9, which left him with some mixed feelings. And Kyocera kept busy as it announced a … Read more