Given the ferment in mobile media, I want to pull together some technical, licensing and legal developments, beginning with Nokia’s plans to introduce a mobile phone with a hard drive. MocoNews lays out the details in a recent post: the device will have a hard drive capable of holding 3,000 songs and “supports a range of music formats including MP3, M4A, AAC and WMA.” In advance of that announcement debate had already begun over whether music-enabled cell phones would kill Apple’s iPod, a notion which Paid Content threw out there on the same day on which it pointed to a report that number-two cell phone maker Motorola was planning to release a phone capable of playing iTunes. I’m not going to waste a word worrying about the fate of hardware vendors. The more the merrier so far as content creators are concerned. Instead, I stand, slack-jawed, in the face of these and other developments in the mobile realm — notably the emergence of powerful, hand-held gaming devices such as the PSP (Surely you saw that Sony has contracted with AtomFilms to offer “free downloadable video content” for its walkabout media player?). So, to borrow a phrase, it’s mobility, stupid. I direct that remark to myself, the print dinosaur who only joined the online party in 2005. I am apparently one of 10 million new bloggers to have logged on since the start of the year! That estimate comes from a recent survey which places the total number of blogs just above 30 million. (On a parochial note, the report’s authors say blog fever began became contagious after Northern California tech guru Dave Winer got Harvard University to back the Bloggercon 2000 conference.) Now, five years later, the restless frontiers of media and technology seem to have leapt off the desktop and onto the handhelds, leaving us late arrivals word-smiths eating dust. Oh, well. Meanwhile, back at the cutting edge, the law (in the form of self-regulation) is racing to add a semblance of civilization to the mobile content gold rush. Thanks to Paid Content for pointing out that cellular companies are working on mobile content ratings to help parents ensure that the kiddies don’t download the naughty stuff. “Our job is to provide choice and provide control,” Cingular vice president Jim Ryan is quoted as saying.
Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media