Vid-Biz: Zumobi, Harper’s Globe, Open Video Conference

Zumobi Introduces American Idol App for iPhone; app gives users bios, pictures, news and 78 original videos from the remaining contestants. (Seattle Times)

Harper’ Launches; web site is the home of EQAL’s new “social show” in support of the CBS TV program Harper’s Island. (Harper’s Globe)

Open Video Conference This Summer; site now accepting proposals for panels, workshop sessions and other programming for the inaugural show June 19 – 20 in New York. (Open Video Conference)

RockPeaks Launches to Bring Concerts Online; pulling from sources like YouTube and Wikipedia, startup claims to have the largest database of live rock and roll shows. (RockPeaks)

Muziic Puts iTunes Interface on YouTube; service created by teen lets users stream music from the video sharing site to their computer without dealing with the video. (CNET)

Pando Co-Founder, CTO Leaves Company; Laird Popkin departing the P2P company to work for test-prep company Kaplan. (Silicon Alley Insider)

Bo Burnham Releases First Full-Length Album; rappin’, piano-playin’ YouTube sensation’s self-titled debut out now on Comedy Central Records; special on the network on March 27. (Bo Burnham Blog)

So What Will Video Stores Look Like?

With all these newfangled set-top boxes and online video sites, renting a movie has never been more convenient. But what does that mean for physical video stores? Over the last two days, The New York Times has offered two glimpses into the video stores’ future. Blockbuster wants to add digital features to its brick-and-mortar legacy, while a new company called Clerk Dogs wants to bring the video store clerk into a digital world.

The Bits Blog ran a piece yesterday with Blockbuster (S BBI) CEO James Keyes talking about how the video rental store won’t die completely, but will adapt:

“The network of neighborhood shops will stay, but what is in them will change. Consumers will see electronics products, digital downloads, online ticketing and more. Behind the scenes, technology will adjust the chain’s inventory mix, burn DVDs to replenish supply of hot movies and more.”

In this scenario, the video store becomes more like a mini-Best Buy, where you come to buy stuff or jack in to download a movie to your device. The staff seems to be there more to facilitate your purchase or rental across different formats than helping you pick a movie.

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Qualcomm Offers Carriers a Widget Plaza

I’m not sure where Qualcomm is going with its Plaza effort, a platform-agnostic (it’ll run on Java and Brew) widget development and delivery framework for carriers. I see why the wireless chip maker wants to appease carriers with their own set of mobile phone widgets, as they could generate higher data usage and increase ARPU, but I don’t know why a user would use them when they can download thousands of other widgets from other sites and bypass their carrier entirely.

Mobile widgets are tiny apps residing on mobile phones that directly connect users to the web without having to go through a browser. It’s fast, and for users without a smart phone (but with a data plan and Java), it’s the only way to access the web. Handset maker Nokia is affiliated with WidSets, which offers more than 5,000 of the things, including PrivateChat, which allows you to IM without paying text messaging fees. Others including Zumobi, GetMobio and Plusmo also offer widgets for mobiles.

Plaza is in the commercialization stage right now, so things may change, but so far it seems similar to WidSets, just with a carrier point of view.