How the Cloud Can Help Carriers Sell Content

Mobile carriers have seen their role as content distributors diminish as app stores from Apple, Google and others gain traction. But cloud-based services for digital content gains more traction every day and could help carriers regain their waning importance — and revenues.

Today in Mobile

I’ll be joining GigaOM Pro colleagues Michael Wolf and Paul Zagaeski as well as Motricity’s Jim Ryan for a free, hour-long roundtable discussion about the mobile content business. The webinar starts at 11 a.m. PT, so please check it out if you have some time this morning. I’m looking forward to a thoughtful, thought-provoking discussion.

As Always, Mobile Music Faces Uncertain Future

Mobile music has long failed to gain traction despite a tremendous amount of hype, but a slew of recent announcements about cloud-based services have reinvigorated the space. But as carriers and record labels should know by now, the only certainty in mobile music is that the old business models don’t apply.

Why Porn and the iPad Are Key for HTML5

Apple’s ban of Adobe Flash opened a huge opportunity for any technology that can deliver a top-notch multimedia experience on the iPad. And porn purveyors are starting to tilt the balance in favor of HTML5.

Today in Mobile

Yahoo has scheduled a big press event for Monday, but BoomTown’s Kara Swisher already has broken the details: the Internet giant will announce a partnership with Nokia to bring its apps and services to the Finnish manufacturer’s handsets. It’s a sound move for both parties — Yahoo gains access to a massive worldwide footprint of phones, while Nokia can build out its portfolio of mobile software and services. But I think it’s also an admission on the part of both companies that they’ve been left in the dust in the era of the superphone, and have a lot of catching up to do.

Today in Mobile

One-third of cell phone owners access news on their handsets, according to new data from the Pew Research Center, and 37 percent of Internet users have contributed to the creation of news, commented about it or disseminated it via postings on social media sites. Interestingly, the Pew’s figures were released the same day this story was published detailing the Associated Press’s plans to attempt to use a paid subscription model for its content on mobile devices. Monetizing digital content has never been easy for new outlets, of course, and Pew’s findings highlight one important reason why: It’s difficult to get people to virally distribute your stuff if you’re charging a premium for it. That’s a challenge AP and its counterparts will have to address as they try to make money in moile.

Are Sponsored Apps the Key for Traditional Media in Mobile?

Like most Super Bowl match-ups or a season premiere of “Lost,” mobile advertising has failed to live up to deafening hype — and for some pretty good reasons. Those spinning wheels appear to finally be gaining traction, though, thanks to a surge in the use of mobile applications, which is opening the door to an entirely new way for companies to present their brands to consumers via their phones.

Today in Mobile

Mobile is about to see an explosion in 3-D technology, according to a new report posted on GigaOM Pro this morning, as advances in hardware and software provide an opportunity for developers and publishers to create remarkably immersive offerings for the phone. But all that technology won’t mean a thing if developers and publishers don’t create content that can take advantage. So content providers should be hastily coming up with ways take advantage of 3-D in mobile with offerings like augmented reality apps, eye-popping games and rich video. Because once 3-D content on the phone gets legs, players who haven’t planned for 3-D will get left behind.

Today in Mobile

The Wall Street Journal published a piece today detailing Skiff, a service from Hearst that will transmit content from traditional print publications to various handheld devices, including smartphones. Sprint will provide wireless connectivity for the service, which comes to market next year, and will sell Skiff devices out of its retail outlets and online. Enticing users to pay for news on mobile gadgets is a tough sell, but Kindle has proven that there’s a market for traditional print content on the go in digital form. As an old-school print journalist, I’m pulling for publishers like Hearst to find a way to monetize in the digital age. But I’m not convinced Skiff is it.