NBC: Wimbledon will be streamed live to mobile phones for the first time, with NBC2GO putting live coverage of the Men’s and Ladies finals on the V Cast Mobile TV Service, using the MediaFLO network. It’s not explicitly stated in the release that the coverage is formatted for mobiles, but it is implied: “V CAST Mobile TV is the best of television programmed specifically for the mobile customer, and that includes great live coverage that NBC Sports brings to tennis fans across the country,” said Ryan Hughes, vice president of digital media programming for Verizon.” If you thought seeing a soccer ball on a mobile screen would be hard, think of a tennis ball… Other NBC mobile news:
–NBC will also show highlights of Wimbledon on MobiTV, which is on Sprint, AT&T and a bunch of regional US carriers.
–In India, mobile content for Wimbledon will be offered by ESPN Star Sports (release).
–ROK Entertainment has announced it has signed up CNBC Europe for its 2.5G mobile TV service.
–MSNBC has started offering the mobile service via the Microsoft Windows Mobile Website (release).
Global mobile users: The number of people using mobile phones will pass 3 billion globally in 2007 according to telco analysts The Mobile World. That takes into account multiple users — the total number of mobile subscriptions will hit 3.25 billion by the end of the year, reports Reuters. “A record 240 million handsets were sold and 135 million new customers signed up to mobile phone networks in the quarter to the end of March”. Meanwhile, mobile distributor Brightpoint thinks that Nokia will grab 40 percent marketshare and the iPhone will remain a niche product, notes this Reuters story.
The O2: Operator O2 has opened The O2 in London, described as a “fully integrated mobile interactive entertainment venue”. Mobile Interactive Group (MIG) has a three-year contract to supply mobile services, including:
–O2 CREATE: A permanent illustration which lets people create their own videos to download to their phone or over the web.
–BARCODE ENTRY: O2 customers can gain access to the blueroom bar by sending the keyword blueroom to a shortcode, and receiving a 2D barcode in response. They can take in up to three friends.
–TEXT THE JUKEBOX: People can request a song via SMS, and receive a message detailing when their selected songs will be played (which is great, nothing worse than putting money in a jukebox with no idea of when the music will actually come up).
–TEXT WALLPAPERS: People can vote for the “ambient wallpaper” via SMS, with the winning graphics being projected onto the 45m wall.