Thursday, July 05, 2007

Ringtones to give way to Avatars as Cell Carrier Search For Next Big Thing

It looks like I created my SecondLife avatar just in time. Hear what David Pogue, who recently attended a celluar services conference in Lake Como, Italy has to say about the future of cell (and it's not all iPhone either!):

"On the exhibit floor, companies were demonstrating very, very cool next-generation services for the onrushing era of unified communications. FastWeb, a company that started only in 2000 and is now a $365 million quad-play company in Italy, lets its customers watch any TV show that's aired in the past three days, on any channel, whenever they like. It's like retroactive TiVo.

Other demos included upcoming services that let you text messages to and from characters inside Second Life, the virtual-reality game; a software module that brings your phone's incoming text messages onto your computer screen, so you don't miss them and can reply with your keyboard; and various systems that unify your communications (voice, text messages and chat, for example), giving you a single address book and mailbox for all of them.

You know how young people are spending $10 billion a year on ringtones, just because it lets them express themselves? The next big thing, I'm convinced, will be avatars. This feature, too, was on display: You design your own little character, or avatar, choosing a hairstyle, clothes, facial features and so on. Then, whenever you call people, your character appears on their cellphone screens. I'll bet avatars will be the next huge teen fad in 2010 or so.

But don't look for any of these goodies here in the United States.

I get the distinct impression that American cellphone carriers are calcified, conservative and way behind their European and Asian counterparts."

Personally, I think its more than just cellphone carriers that are calcified here!
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