INQ plans to release an Android-based phone by next year, company CEO Frank Meehan revealed, joining a small — yet growing — group of handset makers building phones on top of the Google (s goog) mobile OS platform, including Motorola (s mot) and HTC. Meehan told Om that the older players in the handset market have been sluggish in adapting new mobile operating systems, which is a risky strategy as new, nimble handset makers like INQ enter the ring. He said Motorola made the right move by making the leap to Android to rejuvenate its business. “In this game, you’ve got to come out with a handset every year,” said Meehan. “You can’t just hang around.” Read More about INQ to Make Android Phones
Chased through a trap-laden forest by an axe-wielding murderer, Hysteria Project is a step in a much darker direction for the iPhone.
Reviewing Asteroids-esque shooter The Void last week, I mentioned that some iPhone (s aapl) games are ditching the cute and getting darker. With their first release, the BulkyPix team have taken the anti-cute movement further: chopping up any semblance of cuteness with a rusty axe, putting the bits into garbage bags and burying the bags in a creepy forest.
Hysteria Project is a choose-your-own-adventure for the iPhone. Blending atmospheric film sequences with quick-fire decision-making to create an intense horror experience. Read More about App Review: Hysteria Project — iPhone Owner Stalked By Maniac
Disney (s DIS) just announced it will send ABC and ESPN content to massive video site YouTube (s GOOG). The deal is similar to what paidContent reported yesterday (our coverage), with one big distinction: it only applies to short-form — not full-episode — content.
ESPN content is set to fully arrive on the site in mid-April, followed by ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Family and SOAPnet in early May. Disney will be able to sell its own ads (as other partners are able to do), and ESPN, at least, will use its own video player for some sports highlights rather than YouTube’s hosting (as CBS did for live March Madness video). The biggest change associated with Disney content will be YouTube’s coming premium content-oriented redesign.
The YouTube deal doesn’t rule out another one under discussion between Disney and Hulu. That would most certainly be for long-form content distribution rather than short-form, and give Disney a significant stake in Hulu. Currently, ABC only distributes long-form content with the installment of a Move Networks plug-in on-site, while it makes short-form content more widely syndicatable. That short-form content has been very popular, but it’s not terrifically accessible on ABC.com.
In an emailed release, Disney explained the deal was about reaching a broader audience — which is certainly what YouTube has. “Making our content available to fans via YouTube presents an extraordinary opportunity for ESPN to create new revenue streams and new value to advertisers, as they continue to look for new ways to connect with fans in the digital environment,” said George Bodenheimer, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of ESPN and ABC Sports.
As we touched on this morning, YouTube is prepping a redesign of its site to separate premium content from UGC. YouTube needs to make money, but will its latest moves to embrace Hollywood kill the community that turned the site into the online video behemoth it is today?
ClickZ broke the redesign story and writes:
The new design will offer four tabs: Movies, Music, Shows, and Videos. The first three tabs will display premium shows, clips, and movies from Google’s network and studio partners, all of which will be monetized with in-stream advertising. Meanwhile the Videos channel will house amateur and semi-pro content of the sort major brand advertisers have shied away from.
If ClickZ is correct, this redesign looks like it will ghettoize the amateur community. On YouTube, promotion drives plays, and there are only so many videos it can feature. The first casualty will most likely be YouTube’s own homegrown stars. How will Fred, Michael Buckley and SXEPhil fit into a new ecosystem populated by the likes of Brad Pitt and Will Smith? YouTubers might be able to coast on their existing fame for a bit, but the next generation of web celeb hopefuls won’t be as lucky. Promotion drives plays on YouTube and the lack of it could mean people who make a living off YouTube will need to go back to their day job (or back to school).
YouTube has been inching toward becoming a premium content destination for a while now. It signed traditional media players such as CBS and MGM, it altered its rules to tame some of the naughtier content and design tweaks like ordered playlists have made the site more premium content friendly.
Read More about Will Premium Content Kill the “You” in YouTube?
Those of you that joined us at our recent Mobilize conference are likely to remember Chetan Sharma, president of the mobile-focused firm Chetan Sharma Consulting and occasional contributor to GigaOM, who moderated two of our panels. Next week will see the release of Chetan’s sixth book, “Wireless Broadband: Conflict and Convergence.” Co-written with wireless industry pioneer Vern Fotheringham, this look at the future of mobile broadband is part of the IEEE Series on Digital and Mobile Communications. For more info, see Chetan’s own blog post.
Here’s the end-of-the-day portion of the show that many of us have been waiting for all day: the Launchpad, where a dozen startups get a few minutes to convince us they rock.
Here are our lovely judges. All four scored each presenter and one offered a comment:
Ryan Block, Editor, GDGT.com
Tim Chang, Principal, Norwest Venture Partners
Nagraj Kashyap, Sr. Director, Qualcomm Ventures
James Kendrick, jkOnTheRun
Read More about Mobilize: Launchpad
Without carriers and their data networks, mobile applications wouldn’t be possible. So let’s show them some love, says Chetan Sharma, of Chetan Sharma Consulting, the moderator of the panel. The consensus is that mobile data is becoming more important to carriers and it’s growing every year. The next big challenge will be getting content to devices. Read More about The Carrier Panel: Strategies To Keep Mobile Data Growing
Alright, so we wouldn’t exactly call the wireless broadband standard WiMAX “hip.” But it’s gaining traction with the alternative/disruptive companies and carriers, while the competing standard LTE (Long Term Evolution) is being taken up by the dominant cell phone companies. That’s a general overview of the theme of GigaOM’s “Broadband Wireless Debate” panel at Mobilize.
Clearwire’s Chief Strategy Officer Scott Richardson said that 3G can only go so far to deliver the future needs of consumers craving rich multimedia, music and video on the go. And the next generation of 3G from a carrier perspective, LTE, would take multiple years to implement, Richardson pointed out. On the other hand we’re about to deploy our WiMAX network in Portland, he said. Read More about Mobilize: WiMAX for the Renegades, LTE for the Incumbents
For the mobile social networking panel, I thought it might be helpful to condense the various remarks each speaker made to sum up their particular social network’s take on mobile. Not to say the panelists weren’t talking to each other as well, but I think their individual insights are valuable aside from the conversation.
Noelia Amoedo, VP Mobile, hi5: General take: Mobile is about self-expression. “For many of our users, mobile is not an option, it’s a need.” Mobile browser penetration in the U.S. is 16 — there’s a lot of things that need to happen before mobile web reaches mass market and we reach the (global) 49 percent of users that have mobile phones…. Monetization: Many times to get adoption need to offer things for free. Users are very used to mobile billing — there were $50 billion in Q1 mobile content revenues. There’s an easy way for users to pay so it’s about creating an application users want to pay for…Product insights: Too early because we just launched our mobile site three weeks ago. The first version focused on what would be quick to do on the phone when you’re on the move. Didn’t even think about including video in the first version.
Chetan Sharma of Chetan Sharma Consulting: Let’s talk about the user experience. What does it mean to you in a product that gives you that zen moment for user experience?
John SanGiovanni, Zumobi: We look at the user experience as built on the cognitive theories of flow. User experience means graphic design and usability testing. But design with a capital D is an elegant solution to a hard problem on the front end. So when building a usability experience team, rather than a hiring a UI team, creata a team that thinks about putting a smile on the user’s face at the end of the day.
Chetan: Search is the starting point of navigation on the PC. How is it going to be on a mobile? Read More about Signals From the Near Future: The Mobile Guru Panel