Our Next Challenge: The Videophone

There is no question that I am a gadget freak. I love stuff that’s not only fun but makes my life easier. For example, I carry the T-Mobile Sidekick with me everywhere I go. The device can best be described as a cool Blackberry or a cell phone on steroids.
The Sidekick (aka Hip Top) is a cell phone, camera, instant messenger, games device, Internet browser, and email client all in one.
In other words I can surf the web, respond to my email, and talk on the phone all at the same time. The phone flips to give you a full keyboard. You can bang out an email fairly quickly, using your thumbs to type.
The one thing the phone doesn’t have is television. But that’s about to change.
Recently, I saw a demo of commercial TV broadcasting for cell phones. At this point it might be better to call what I saw a slide show with audio. Although the audio was good and for the most part clear, the video was coming in at about one frame every five seconds,.
From first glance it appears that “real” TV on your cell phone is still a ways off. But I am sure when it gets good I’ll be adding it to my gadget list. Not that I really need it, but I still think it would be cool.
I think back to April when I was watching the Masters on TV. It’s the one golf tournament that I watch from start to finish. The problem was that it was a very nice day on that Masters Sunday. I would have loved to have gone out and played a few holes, but I didn’t want to miss the Masters.
I could have used my DVR to record the tournament while I hit the links, but I just knew somebody would have told me who won before I got the chance to watch it.
So, I stayed home and watched the Masters instead of playing golf.
If my cell phone was also a TV, I could have done both. Think about it: Could life get any better than watching the Masters live and playing golf at the same time?
When true mobile TV becomes a reality, you’ll have to wonder what it will do for TV news departments. You know when the reporter is going live and all those people are waving in the background? Now those people will be able to see themselves live while they are waving. They will be able to get themselves lined up perfectly to really help mess up your live shot.
How will Nielsen deal with ratings when so many people might be watching your newscast on their phone?
How long will it be before cell phones have built-in DVRs? You can record American Idol and watch it during one of those boring staff meetings at work.
The idea of a truly mobile TV on a device that almost everyone carries is kind of scary when you think about it. This could have a huge impact on the way all of us do business.
All I know is when the technology is perfected I will be one of the first in line to buy a new phone.
Then I’ll call the pro shop and set up a tee time for Masters Sunday. Life can’t get much better.