Mobile TV and GPS are expected to dominate water-cooler conversations at this year’s 3GSM Congress, the mobile trade fest running in Barcelona February 12-15. The event, which has seen attendance explode from just over 20,000 five years ago to an anticipated 60,000 this week, is the number one event in the mobile phone calendar. Vodafone and T-Mobile are both expected to push the latest variants of Mobile TV technology hard; consumer reluctance to spend on extra small screen entertainment is likely to be countered with a new breed of free-to-view advertising supported programming. But while Mobile TV is a big topic, not everyone is convinced that it’s going to be big business.
GPS-enabled phones are ibeing touted as a safer bet. Nokia’s announcement that it will offer navigational Smart2Go software and services free of charge, will set the tone. The mobile giant expects to make revenue not from subscribers, but from advertisers eager to be promoted by map users. Ralph Eric Kunz, VP of Nokia Multimedia says: “smart2go gives consumers a free way to explore the world around them. In addition, the navigable map data used in the smart2go solution makes it easy to convert a broad range of connected mobile devices into full personal navigation devices.”
The current version of the smart2go platform is available on Nokia S60 and Windows Mobile 5.0 devices. A rebranded ‘Nokia Maps’ version will become available on other Nokia N-series phones.
In related news, Vodafone has inked a deal with MySpace which allows users to access and edit their profiles on the networking site, directly from their phones. Mobiles will also be released with pre-loaded MySpace Mobile software which will allow users to listen to music or watch video streamed from the site.