The UK has become a nation of gadget lovers – with huge numbers of people now carrying camera phones, PDAs and iPods, a trend that appeals to muggers and osteopaths alike.
Content providers have begun to exploit this love affair with the gadget – from reality TV shows reaping huge financial benefits from viewers’ texts to the delivery of downloaded content.
Mobile content may be worth several billion euros a year in western Europe, but a lack of memory or storage combined with bandwidth limitations has constrained content type to games, wallpapers and ringtones.
With the arrival of plug-in storage devices such as Multi-Media Chips (MMC), content providers have access to a huge untapped market – both in delivering higher capacity content, from video clips to films, and addressing a broader market demographic that may have eschewed the download process to date.
Over the past few months, wholesale prices for MMC cards have dropped from &£10 to &£4.50, and a growing number of phones are able to support the technology. The first content has been made available, with Carphone Warehouse providing the Robbie Williams Greatest Hits album on MMC. The handset and accessory distributors have been working with content providers to bundle content, such as wallpapers, on to MMC cards to achieve product differentiation.
While some purists will continue to opt for separate devices for music, phone, camera and PDA, the mainstream market will joyfully replace multiple machines with one device. Within the next 12 months, MMC cards with bundled content will take centre stage on the high street, and the content owners will have an unprecedented opportunity to repackage existing content and develop new, mobile specific products.