TV on Your Cellphone Coming Soon to the U.S. and Europe

In Asia and much of the rest of the world, television has been available in streaming format to cell phones for some time.

In Europe and the U.S., however, it’s been a long time coming as networks claim it will overload their systems and as competing network standards have made it difficult to employ. Limited offerings from carriers such as Verizon and AT&T have had dubious popularity amongst users, but new technology and movements in the market are changing that.

Test trials are already underway in some areas of North America as providers work out the final details of the service offerings. In South Korea, says Samsung’s Hankil Yoon, “Our experience shows that people like watching TV on mobile phones, even on smaller screens. And they like watching it for free. It is only a matter of time before it goes global.”

Samsung already includes mobile-TV chips in its smart phones for the Asian markets is making a handset for Sprint in the United States. The free-to-air mobile TV availability in South Korea has been out for over five years and now about 56% of the country’s population watches it regularly from mobile devices. An additional 80 million people in China, Southeast Asia, India, Africa, and Latin America all watch mobile TV as well.

Earlier this year, Sprint and nine broadcasters in the Washington-Baltimore area began a four-month trial of mobile TV for various Samsung, LG, and Dell devices including netbooks, mobile phones and portable DVD players.

If that trial is successful, the devices may begin to go national by the end of the year.

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Will the iPad Debut Without Content?

When Apple introduced the iPad as a revolutionary new way to interact with media, many were excited about the prospect of viewing their favorite TV shows, reading their favorite magazines and newspapers, and even getting their textbooks on the slim, easy-to-carry tablet.

Apple’s enthusiasm may be wishful thinking. So far, Apple is still trying to procure the content that will make the revolutionary new platform worth using.

Apple was hoping to offer TV shows for a cheaper price than they are currently offered in their iTunes store, reportedly looking for a 99 cent price as opposed to the $1.99 or $2.99 per episode that users are currently paying.

Apple has not yet reached an agreement with the networks, however, many of whom are uncertain they want to be the first to jump onto this new, potentially dangerously unprofitable, platform.

Magazines and newspapers are holding back because of concerns that the iPad doesn’t support Adobe’s Flash video technology, which many publishers use for online ads. Publishers are also only working with a test version of the iPad app development kit, so are dealing with glitches that will no longer exist by the time the iPad goes to market.

In good news for Apple’s content prospects, their new virtual bookstore iBooks is doing well. Major publishers are on schedule to deliver their titles, perhaps because readers like Kindle and Nook have already assured them that new media is a profitable way to spread content.

We’ll see if TV, newspapers, and magazines follow suit.

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How Do You Get Your App in an Apple Ad?

Last year, Apple put out a series of commercials promoting the iPhone through demonstrating a number of its best applications.

Among the lucky companies that managed to land slots were Barnes & Noble, Pizza Hut, Gap, Epicurious and Zagat, but they didn’t get their slots because they paid Apple the most money for the cameo. Apple puts a higher premium on showcasing what their own product can do than in securing advertising dollars.

Basically, the marketers who created the iPhone apps that were then featured in the Apple commercials weren’t even aware that their apps were being considered for use. However, they got a huge free marketing boost when the Apple ads aired, and this set other marketers to putting some serious research into how to be the next lucky winner of an Apple leg-up.

The one thing all the applications have in common? They’re useful to customers and they show off the best features of the iPhone itself. Naturally Apple wants to show off apps that make the iPhone seem like an invaluable piece of technology, but the company’s brand is also hugely customer-focused, and apps that are customer-friendly have a definite advantage.

Good user experience seems to be the number-one reason to be featured in an Apple commercial. For example, Pizza Hut landed their slot because they were the very first company to offer an app that allowed users to place delivery orders. The app also made good use of iPhone features like tilting and GPS, which made for a winning combination.

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