— Photobucket Launches Download Service: Popular photo-sharing site Photobucket has launched a service that lets US residents download images from the site onto their mobile phone (they’ve had the ability to upload images from the phone to the site for a while now). Thumbplay will automatically format the image to be a wallpaper optimized for the handsets screensize and resolution. There is a catch — it costs $1.99 to download the image. I think this is pretty high considering that most phones can more or less display an image even if it isn’t the correct size, and people can easily edit them on their PCs anyway. People will be able to download any photo they can view on Photobucket, and Thumbplay didn’t disclose how the revenue is divided. (release)
— 63 TV Stations Favor DTV: The Open Mobile Video Coalition has said that 63 TV stations in 22 markets across the US have committed to mobile DTV broadcasting plans in phase one of the launch. “Of the 63 stations, there will be 14 NBC affiliated, nine ABC affiliates, nine CES affiliates, five FOX affiliates, nine ION Television affiliates, four CW affiliates and four MyNetworkTV affiliates, in addition to nine PSB stations that are in discussions with the OMVC to join the 2009 launch” notes Twice. The service is expected to launch as early as next year, with the OMVC planning on approving the mobile DTV standard in the third or fourth quarter of this year reports HomeTheater. Although the service will fare better in mobile phones if it gets the support of carriers, it’s not relying on that — in-car TVs and other mobile devices can pick up the free signals just as easily.
— Car Makers Turn To Mobile Marketing: Car manufacturers see the benefit of mobile marketing, if it’s more than just banner ads. BMW has signed up Artificial Life (OTCBB: ALIF) to produce BMW Z4 — An Expression of Joy, a marketing effort for the BMW Z4 Roadster on the iPhone and iPod touch. Players will be able to customize and drive the car in the 3D game, and use the tire tracks to create drawings (release). Meanwhile, Ford is running a grassroots campaign for its Ford Flex vehicle, which will target “a multicultural demographic in barber shops and beauty salons”. It has signed Real Content Group to use its branded mobile phone text channels (uVIP Text Channels) and event and retail based mobile kiosks (bCODE) to “turn neighborhood barber shops and salons into a major automotive marketing destination”. The ultimate goal is to let Ford build a mobile database of current and potential customers who they can offer exclusive lifestyle benefits to, and ultimately get to buy a Ford Flex reports TMCnet.
— Firefox Mobile On Windows Mobile: Firefox Mobile could be on a Windows Mobile device in February — specifically the Touch Pro. (Gizmodo)
— T-Mobile Promotes Sidekicks With Grammys: T-Mobile is promoting its Sidekick handset by teaming with The Recording Academy to launch a music-oriented marketing campaign, starting with a trip to LA for the 51st Grammy Awards and 2 tickets backstage.