Today is the opening day of the CTIA Wireless conference, the home for much of the biggest mobile news that doesn't involve a little device called the iPhone. One of the biggest trends this year is device manufacturers and service/software providers attempting to mimic the most popular features of the iPhone, particularly in entertainment content. A few of the show's highlights:
-Tim Kring will create content for Nokia's "Ovi Store," essentially its version of the Apple App store. The "Heroes" creator has agreed to write a "multi-platform narrative" that's code-named TEVA. Cell phone manufacturer Nokia is obviously hoping a well known name like Kring will help bring a little buzz to its entry into the suddenly crowded cellular content distribution biz. He's actually taking the stage with a Nokia exec at the Web 2.0 conference, happening simultaneously with CTIA, to try and drum up interest in Ovi.
The first "mobile phase" of TEVA, which will also be developed for other media, is scheduled for this summer. Not too coincidentally, that's around the same time that the the first Nokia phone with the Ovi storefront on it ships in June.
Nokia does have some big name partners like Electronic Arts, Fox and Facebook on board for Ovi, but as any video game console manufacturer can tell you, there's nothing like exclusive content to generate interest in a new platform.
-Research in Motion has launched its App store competitor called, well, aptly, Blackberry App World. Per MocoNews, one of the key differentiators is that RIM isn't leaving developers to do what they want, as Apple does, but actually looking for tight integration into its platform — meaning they have to work seamlessly on the device. Apparently they don't want Blackberry owners struggling to get products they pay for to work, especially since most of them are businessmen and women who could go complaining to their IT departments when something goes wrong.
-One of the first services for App World is a new attempt to get TV onto mobile devices: Quickplay Media's Primetime2Go. For $7.99 per month, users can watch shows from NBC, CBS, or MTV on two BlackbBerry models (the Bold and Curve 8900), both of which have a high speed wireless connection called Wi-Fi links that's necessary to get the video.
Of course, iPhones already can play TV shows that users download from the iTunes store. But those can only be downloaded on a PC and then transferred. The other option on iPhones is CBS's TV.com application, which has a small number of ad-supported streaming shows.
Primetime2Go has the tough hurdle of being subscription-based and limited to three networks. But it's still the best TV option that BlackBerry owners have so far.
-Also announced by Nokia this week is "point and find," a unique new service that gets information based on objects users point at with a camera phone. For now, it only works with movie posters: Point at the poster and get trailers, reviews, showtimes, etc. It's hard to imagine how this is easier than just searching for the movie on a mobile browser or using an application made to find film information (there are already plenty for iPhones). But as a platform, the idea that you could point a phone at any number of different things and get relevant information, without typing a word, is pretty cool. In its announcement, Nokia got folks from Cartoon Network and Body Worlds to talk up the possibilities