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#TBT: Rated ‘M’ for mobile; Before Alexa, there was Jeeves and SMS search… this week in 2005

Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Rated ‘M’ for … mobile
WASHINGTON-The wireless industry plans to meet this week to begin work on a wireless content ratings system similar to other entertainment industries. “We are going to do something. Hopefully by the end of the year, the industry will have adopted a voluntary rating system. We are all in agreement that it is necessary. The feeling is, it is certainly not a problem at this point in time, but before it becomes one, the industry wants to draw up a set of ratings that will let all consumers know the nature of the content,” said John Walls, CTIA vice president of public affairs. “Everyone is very enthusiastic about getting together and coming to terms on appropriate content ratings.” The Federal Communications Commission hailed news of the planned CTIA meeting to address the topic, noting it can only be a good thing if the industry gets out in front of the issue and makes sure consumers are aware mobile content will soon mean more than talking on a cell phone. “Are consumers, like parents, aware that when they buy their kids a cell phone, they could have access to this content?” asked John Muleta, chief of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. “Having a rating system is not only about sexual content; it is about violence and age-appropriate content.” … Read more

Ringtones fueled a mini-music industry

The overwhelming popularity of ringtones and ring backs has given birth to an unprecedented cottage industry: mobile music labels that deal directly with artists to create content for wireless phones. INgrooves became the latest entrant in the developing space last week. The digital record company launched a division that will create music exclusively for wireless devices, distributing the tunes through mobile storefronts like 9 Squared, Dwango Wireless and Hudson Entertainment. The new label has the benefit of a parent company that has existing relationships with recording artists such as R&B singer Kieran and house music band High Caliber. INgrooves Mobile Music has already licensed music from The Crystal Method, Thievery Corp., Grandaddy and Felix da Housecat. But while INgrooves has become a well established-if relatively small-player in the digital music market, the new subsidiary will help it keep up with the mobile space, said Adam Hiles, INgrooves’ president and director of music licensing. “Mobile (music) is its own space now; its own world,” said Hiles. “You have the big players, handset manufacturers and operators who are looking for exclusive, customized content. And we provide something that a label cannot.” … Read more

Even McDonald’s was in on it: McNuggets, fries and a ringtone on the side

McDonald’s restaurants in the Pacific Northwest will give away ringtones, wallpaper and coupons to wireless handsets during a Web-based promotional campaign, the fast-food chain said. McDonald’s will use the Web site www.mobilestr33t.com as a focal point for the campaign to offer ringtones from hip-hop artists, classic rock bands, and movie and TV show theme songs. The campaign began last week and runs for a limited time. “As a leader in the food industry, McDonald’s continues to pave the way for young adults by offering them a variety of choices through mobile communications, which is so much a part of their world,” said Kim Bayer, McDonald’s Northwest regional manager. The campaign is just the latest marketing initiative that integrates wireless technology. According to new research from Frost & Sullivan, the mobile marketing market is expected to reach $69.3 million by 2007. The market totaled $11.5 million in revenue last year … Read more

Wi-Fi takes over the home
DALLAS-The number of households that use Wi-Fi technology for home networking has now surpassed the number that use Ethernet, according to a new Parks Associates survey. According to the “Global Digital Living” report, 52 percent of U.S. households with home networking use Wi-Fi while 50 percent use Ethernet. In Canada, only 32 percent of households with home networking use Wi-Fi, while 43 percent use Ethernet and 26 percent were unsure which technology they use. “This is truly a watershed finding,” said John Barrett, director of research at Parks Associates. “Establishing a solid base of wireless home networks is crucial for the adoption of next-generation services … Read more

Before Siri and Alexa, there was Jeeves (RIP)
Internet search engine Ask Jeeves said it will bring its service to wireless devices later this year, joining an already crowded playing field of mobile-search providers. But whether wireless subscribers will use their phones to access search engines-or how they might do it-is anybody’s guess. [Editor’s Note: LOL!] Some of the first substantial mobile-search offerings debuted last summer, as Yellow-Pages.com, SearchGuy.com and LexisNexis all deployed services bringing their Internet-based offerings to handhelds. Google made news in October when it launched a beta test of a service enabling mobile users to access a local version of its search engine via short message service. From their handsets, users simply type in subjects and locations-for instance, “pizza” and a ZIP code-for information on nearby businesses. Yahoo! rolled out its own mobile-search service two weeks later. In addition to offering local information, the WAP-based offering allows users to look for images or search for Web pages. There’s no question that Google’s SMS information is more simple and takes less time to access than Yahoo!’s service, which requires users to start the search from Yahoo!’s home page on a handset. But a WAP application allows a service provider to send much more than just a name, address and phone number. “We think a WAP search offering provides the best user experience,” said Thad White, senior director of product management at Yahoo! Mobile. “For example, with SMS, you would not be able to provide a color map or driving directions. We think we’ve created the best user experience possible.” IceRocket, an Internet search engine launched by billionaire Mark Cuban, offers an e-mail-based service. From handsets, users send blank e-mails with search terms in the subject lines to get results from IceRocket’s engine. … Read more

This was the extent of Verizon network prep for Super Bowl XXXIX
(Editor’s Note: Compare that to the multi-year, multi-venue infrastructure upgrades for this year’s game. Also, Super Bowl 39 was another Patriots-Eagles match-up; Pats won 24-21. Timely!)
BEDMINSTER, N.J.-Verizon Wireless said it has upgraded cell sites and installed a pair of cell sites on wheels near Jacksonville, Fla.’s Alltel Stadium ahead of this weekend’s Super Bowl, which is expected to attract more than 73,000 people to the event. The carrier noted that the COWs are equipped with eight voice channels, an expanded high-speed data channel and a tower that telescopes up to 120 feet and can simultaneously handle hundreds of phone calls and data transmissions. … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News’ Archives for more stories from the past.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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