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Opinion: Take your creative urges mobile with Sketch

sketch.jpgUser generated content is most often created in the form of video, photos or, if you’re really unlucky, music. The quality is often variable to say the least, especially in the latter category, but that’s not necessarily a barrier to usage. In fact, in some cases, the worse it is, the more popular it becomes. One area of creative endeavor that hasn’t yet been explored in the mobile environment is drawing – until now. Sketch, from UK-based developer Dakine Wave isn’t sophisticated, but it may signal the birth of a new dimension in user-generated mobile content.

Sketch is a mobile app that lets you draw pictures on your Java-enabled handset. Users can create pictures using standard line, shape and color-fill tools, plus a variety of pre-loaded characters and objects including animals, food, cars, houses, etc. The finished masterpiece can then be saved on the phone or texted as an attachment to friends.

The quality of the result achievable is unlikely to win you the Turner Prize (then again…), but it could while away a few idle minutes, especially if you’re a teenager. We like the idea because it takes user generated content in a new direction. But the graphical limitations mean that its appeal is likely to be limited. Perhaps its significance lies more in the fact that it is indicative of the increasing diversity of user-generated material. As the technology develops, mobile-originated art may well start spawning the kind of online repositories of content that are already being created for photos, videos and books created on mobile phones.

Sketch costs £5 and can be downloaded directly via your phone’s browser from

Hamish M.
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November 1, 2007 at 10:30 pm 1 comment

Opinion: Music makes the mobile world go round

mtv_mobile.jpgMusic-related content, in the form of ringtones, MP3s and, more recently, video, has long been one of the most popular uses of a mobile phone. This has been further illustrated by a couple of announcements this week, one from MTV about its mobile lyric search service, and one from INgrooves which is launching its mobile music screensavers in November. The morphing of some of Sony Ericsson‘s handsets into Walkman-branded devices, and of the course the iPhone with its iPod functionality indicate that music will continue to be a key area of focus for manufacturers and developers alike in the future.

MTV’s new lyric search service will be carried in the mobile environment via its MTV mobile, VH1 Mobile and CMT Mobile brands. Users texting the name of an artist, song, or partial lyric to a special number will receive a link in return that guides them to a WAP site featuring lyrics and other details about the artist in question. There is obviously significant scope for development of this idea, including links to the video accompanying the song and the ability to purchase either the video or the song for streaming and/or download.

InGroove’s music screensavers for mobiles are available to Verizon and Alltel Wireless subscribes in the US and feature animations of (apparently) renowned artists such as Tila Tequila, Too Short and B Legit that play simultaneously with the relevant track when a handset is opened. At $2.99 each they aren’t particularly cheap, but then the dollar is worth so little these days it may be a better deal than it sounds.

Music is an incredibly powerful medium for the youth demographic that is also a primary target for much of the other mobile content and applications currently on offer and in development. MTV is a huge and powerful brand and so almost anything it does is bound to get some traction, at least in the short term. Whether trying to identify a song or artist you like but don’t know the name of, or simply using it to cheat in pub quizzes, we think this idea has some mileage. INGroove’s screensavers could also hold significant appeal for the same demographic, especially when the range of artists on offer is expanded.

Hamish M.
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October 30, 2007 at 11:17 pm 2 comments

Opinion: Mobile content for foodies – an excellent choice, sir

inbabble-food-wine.PNGHot on the heels of its sponsorship of a west-end musical, UK mobile operator Orange is offering it’s users content related to popular TV chef Nigel Slater‘s new recipe book, entitled “Eating for England”. Meanwhile, the 3J Wine Carnet enables wine buffs to catalogue their favourite tipples as they drink them. Foodies are generally pretty passionate people and will therefore make a good target audience that are likely to value the opportunity to indulge their interest in a novel way. (more…)

October 10, 2007 at 11:49 pm 1 comment

Opinion: Electronic paper keypads – interesting but not necessarily worthwhile

e-paper.PNGNo sooner have we looked at novels written and read on mobile phones and the possible future mobile applications of electronic paper, then Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo showcases a prototype mobile phone with a keypad made from the very same stuff. Two years in the making, the keys change their symbols automatically according to the selected application. Tellingly however, even the press release fails to mention any real-world benefits. And in a post-iPhone world where every manufacturer and his dog seems to be about to launch a touch screen phone, the question is whether it has really been worth all the bother. (more…)

October 9, 2007 at 10:46 pm

Opinion: Do books work as mobile content?

mobile content booksInk printed on paper has been the standard book reading format for thousands of years. The idea that electronic devices of various kinds might replace it hasn’t been around for quite so long. Yet one of the latest techno-crazes in Japan involves people writing and distributing entire novels by mobile phone. And companies as significant as Sony have released mobile book reading devices featuring ‘electronic paper‘ that are capable of storing hundreds of books, and provide a paper-like reading experience. The idea of reading books on a mobile device is coming of age. But it won’t replace the ink-and-paper book any time soon. (more…)

October 5, 2007 at 11:51 am 3 comments

Opinion: Orange makes event-based content Wicked!

inbabble-wicked.JPGWe’ve talked a lot this week about content geared towards very specific target groups, and how we think they really utilize the personal nature of the mobile phone. Building mobile content around specific events or shows is another way of creating a lot of interest, and providing users with content and interactivity that they can’t get anywhere else. UK mobile operator Orange has announced it has become the ‘official communications partner’ (yes, we hate that kind of meaningless corporate schtick too) of the hit London musical ‘Wicked‘ – a story involving the witches from the Wizard of Oz. Not earth-shattering in itself, except for the fact that Orange has built some interesting and very interactive content around it. (more…)

October 4, 2007 at 12:57 pm 1 comment

Opinion: Mobilemom – a great example of targeted content

mobilemom.gifAfter yesterday’s comment on Quitmate, an application targeted specifically at smokers trying to give up, we’ve heard about another user group-specific tool that helps emphasize the potential of really well targeted content. ‘MobileMom’ is a ‘life hack’ style text- and browser-based organizational tool for busy American mothers. A joint venture between developer GoWare and parenting website MomCentral, we think it’s a service that epitomizes one of the ways in which providers can utilize the personal nature of mobile phones to really add value for users. (more…)

October 2, 2007 at 1:54 pm

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