Sunday, December 26, 2004

Jamster! Your Mobile: "

Last week a new service for mobile media and applications launched in the United States. Jamster is the stateside incarnation of Jamba, based in Germany.

What the Europeans have been blessed with for a while now is an easy way to buy content and get it onto their handsets. MTV in Germany plays a crawl with a instructions to get the current song onto your handset. In the United States there are commercials that are played on television from Jamster with easy instructions and a quick method of delivery for various items direct to the handset. Admittedly, it is rare that a television commercial can provide instant gratification.

Ringtonia recently ran a story on teens paying for ringtones but not music. Users that aren't paying one dollar for the song, are for whatever reason willing to pay up to two dollars for the tone - in 30 second clips, no less. Fact is, ringtones outsell music downloads.

While ringtones and wallpapers can be easily enough managed by the power user on most devices, there is something to be said for having it so easily managed right on the device. The typical subscriber of mobile service in the United States doesn't have the inclination or desire to go hunting for a MIDI file online, and I found myself finding applications and games on Jamster and found the purchasing process incredibly easy and simple. Even if you don't think it is worth using a service like Jamster, I bet your siblings, parents, or coworkers do.

Billboard sure thinks so. They've been tracking ringtone purchases on a music chart all their own. Mobile phones are like portable boom-boxes, there are rings, bleeps, squawks, and now outright songs coming at us from all angles. The only thing missing are commercial announcements and I'm willing to bet, somewhere, you can get product jingles in easy-to-acquire MIDI formats for mobile phones. NPR recently had a story about this, archived online at their website, (Which reminds me, NPR needs to make some better MIDI versions of their theme songs available.)

Once you go to Jamster and tell them what type of handset you have, you can get applications, themes, wallpapers, ringtones, and games. The delivery mechanism works great, and I was able to send a ringtone I wanted to my BlackBerry 7100t and my Nokia 6600.

Part of the charm I think for me is that most companies that sell content aren't based in the United States, and have a fly-by-night feel to them. Jamster is owned by VeriSign, which helps tickle the buying bone for a lot of users. You don't really get the impression your purchase is going to a PayPal account owned by a guy living in his mothers' basement. Part of this may be that I'm interested in knowing that the content I'm getting is actually licensed properly. The way I see it, if SuperHotRingTonesMegaDotCom is not paying for it, why should I pay them?

Mobile operators should be very interested in letting Jamster handle their content distribution, I've tried to buy ringtones on Sprint PCS devices and T-Mobile handsets and been really disappointed by the whole process. I found it annoying and even confusing. Getting a cool theme or ringtone with Jamster is a piece of cake, and the prices are right, which is really what makes it a home run to use the service.

2005 will be a great year for mobile services in the United States. While we still lag behind in this area of technology we are taking notes from the successes and failures in other markets more advanced, and providing solutions that work in the United States. I find it interesting that while SMS still isn't as widely used here as it is elsewhere, it is absolutely taking off. With more visible companies like Jamster paying attention specifically to the United States, we'll quickly see more development in this area. And if nothing else, at least we'll have a place to buy the latest ringtone or game for our handsets.

Also, since Michele has used the phrase 'bling' while describing mobile ringtones, I hereby coin the phrase 'Ring Bling'. (Oops, someone with a TypePad site already used it - WirelessDigest.)

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(Via MobileWhack.)

Jamster! Your Mobile


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