In the past decade, cell phone use has exploded around the world: more than a billion mobile phones were sold in 2007 alone. Hundreds of new mobile applications have been launched to meet the demand for innovative new services, even as Web browsers have improved content delivery.
According to Mike Pagano, producer at EA Tiburon Mobile, the greatest boon to mobile gaming has been the release of the iPhone. “We’re seeing a huge change in the quality of content,” says Pagano, “and mobile gaming is a major growth industry right now.”
With graphics that rival those of gaming consoles, and with its touch screen and accelerometer, which tracks a user’s movements, the iPhone has allowed EA Tiburon to develop versions of its popular games for the small screen, according to Pagano. For instance, the company, which has offices in California and Florida, released Spore for mobile gamers in September to much acclaim.
“The mobile market had flatlined,” says Pagano, “because people wanted bigger, better games, and standard cell phones were limited. Now we see a big change in the quality of content that we can provide.”
EA Tiburon has a number of original mobile games currently under development.
Mobile marketing holds great appeal, in large part because it offers the ability to carefully tailor the message and ensure that it reaches the right customer. According to Nielsen Mobile, nearly 77 million U.S. mobile users reported seeing some form of advertising on their phones.
The careful growth of the industry here in the United States has allowed members of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) to develop appropriate guidelines for obtaining consumer consent, explains Michael Becker, MMA board member and executive vice president for the marketing company iLoop. “You might go to usatoday.com and send a text message to a number to receive news alerts, or text Obama’s site and receive content and news on what he’s doing,” Becker says.
It has proved difficult for many companies to translate their Web presence into a mobile one, due to different content abilities and the high cost of designing and implementing necessary changes. In November, Unity Mobile, based in St. Petersburg, FL, and the Czech Republic, unveiled a new service that allows companies of all sizes to seamlessly and affordably transform their Web content into a mobile-friendly format.
“The future of the Internet is being significantly shaped by mobility,” says Daniel West, CEO. “We designed Unity Mobile to be the foundation for organizations to reach their potential in the mobile channel.”
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Search technology has transformed the way that people use the Internet and has made piles of money for giants like Google.
With the iPhone, Apple showed how to surf the Web on the small screen. Now, it seems, a modern version of the browser wars of the 1990s could be shaping up, with the battleground being the mobile phone.
Wireless carriers are famous for controlling the devices and software that they allow on their networks. Apple's iPhone, for example, is locked for use on AT&T's network only. But one carrier is set to adopt a much more open approach to wireless access.
Apple's latest offering proves that revolutionary tech products don't have to be that revolutionary. Upon the iPhone's release, enthusiasts around the world rushed to tear it apart, eager to see something new.
The software enables something Pelago's chief technology officer, Darren Erik Vengroff, calls social discovery: using the iPhone's map and self-location features, as well as information about the prior activities of the user's friends, Whrrl proposes new places to explore or activities to try.