The Logic Behind Verizon Wireless’s New Low-Tech App


Mobile operators are falling over themselves to offer the latest mobile applications, from GPS services that help you locate your friends to chipsets that let you watch TV. So what is Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) now touting? A remarkably un-high-tech service that lets subscribers send photos from their phone to an album on the Web. The idea is that because nearly all cellphones now have camera phones, the target audience is potentially huge.

The application is not entirely new. The company building it is Seattle-based Ontela, which provides similar services to other carriers such as Alltel (NYSE: AT) and Cellular South. But what’s different this time around is that Verizon Wireless has partnered with another company to offer the service, instead of doing it alone. And the partner is Photobucket, one of the most popular photo-sharing services in the country.

Ontela’s CEO Dan Shapiro said Verizon didn’t want the full responsibility of marketing the application. “It’s a lot of work. They’d have to go and create a brand, and do all the promotions themselves. While they are open to that, it


Andrew Deal

The idea that the logic of a low tech app that reaches more people has to be explained is one of the great ironies of the age we're in. Someday soon we'll rise above our current 'voice in the wilderness' status and demonstrate how ridiculous it is to leave the mainstream out of mobile innovation.


There is one big reason why Verizon doesn't get it. At $2.99 a month. What users are really going to spend another 3 bucks a month on something like this? Its stupid. There should be a one-time fee, and then you have it for the life of your phone.

It is no wonder users are flocking to the iPhone and the App Store. With phone bills approaching the $75 to $100 a month range, why would you want to ever buy subscription services like this?

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