The Mobile Broadband Battlefield

Google, known for its search juggernaut, enticed the mobile industry with mention of its Android mobile platform a few months back. The show marks the first time that Android has been shown working on what could be called production phones, and Samsung (among others) announced availability of Android-powered phones by the end of this year or early 2009; Google's ability to attract several key players, including Samsung and Texas Instruments, is key to its ability to put its search tools (and YouTube, for that matter) on to mobile handsets. Google's already shown what it can do when combined with Apple's iPhone interface, so the sell to carriers and handset manufacturers may be much shorter than the typical telecom sales cycle.

Yahoo's taking a different approach, with its decision not to create a mobile platform but instead to work with existing phones. As an example, Yahoo has been aggressively targeting deals to sell and manage mobile ads as a way to offset its losses in web search and advertising business to Google. Even though Yahoo formally rejected the acquisition offer from Microsoft, it is hard at work trying to show its turnaround model can work, and the company used the show to tout a partnership with T-Mobile to manage and serve rich media ads. It also has a similar advertising deal with Vodafone.

"Banner advertising through the internet on your mobile creates many opportunities for potential advertisers to adopt innovative marketing campaigns," Phil Chapman, director of marketing at T-Mobile said in a statement. "We regard Yahoo as a leader in display advertising, and with its deep understanding of the mobile space and the potential that mobile advertising can offer clients, we're glad they are on board as our partners."

Christine Perey, who readers may remember from previous articles, has also been spending quite a bit of time doing legwork to research mobile social media and the implications for rich and streaming media. Teaming up with Informa, one of Mobile World Congress's co-hosts, Perey has put together a report titled "Mobile Social Networking: Communities and Content on the Move" that addresses several questions of interest to readers. These include mobile social networking as disruptive innovation, key application segments for Mobile Social Networking, the relevance of this service segment and the role of rich media in the future of mobile communities. Companies profiled include several companies mentioned in previous podcasts (including today's mobile video podcast) such as Bebo, Facebook, InterCasting, Juice Wireless, Microsoft, Vodafone and 3.

Mobile World Congress continues through February 14 in Barcelona, Spain.

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