Lynne d Johnson



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03.24.04 02:59 PM

repeating the errors of the

If you don't know by now, since ringtones have become the greatest revenue model for the mobile/wireless industry (and not service - w/out value added), there are a host of companies coming out with this crazy ass biz models to try and make you spend more time using your cell phone for chatting, messaging (multimedia), blogging, IMing, watching video, yadda yadda yaa. This so reminds me of the industry boom.

I'm in ATL at CTIA, the cellular telecommunications and internet association show here. A few months ago, I went to the one in LV, but it was nothing like this show. This show reminds me of Internet World or one of those other such events circa 1999 - when the Internet World promised this everywhereness. I wish I could tell you the number of booths here, it's a really absurd amount. And there is lots of international presence. I'm not saying I don't believe in the power of mobile to, ah, mobilize us, especially the youth, considering the ways in which mobile is being used in the UK or Japan. But I bet, in a few years, there'll only be a handful of players in this game. And that handful will all probably be absorbed into the Verizon and AT&T's of the world.

I've seen some really cool phones, apps, wireless gadgets, etc. but none of it is ever that must-have kind of stuff. It always seems so much like excess. For instance do I need a "face tone?" A picture of big boi and andre 3000 with big boi's lips moving on my phone. Or how about this other kind of tone, that gives me an animated 50 Cent rapping "P-I-M-P?" Yeah, yeah, the kids will love it. And they will also love the ability to IM anyone on any gateway with one app. They'll love to send MMS in which they put in the images, sound, and text. I'm sure of's the youth, and the NYC and LA tastemakers pushing this ringtone market.

I know I'm in the new media industry, and part of my job is to bring my company's print and television properties to the consumer in both the online and mobile arenas in "unique" ways, but I still have this one question that's been burning me from the inside out.

Just b/c someone wants something or thinks it's really cool, does it necessarily mean they need it?

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