Monday, January 08, 2007

Qualcomm's Live FLO of Media Coming Soon via Verizon Wireless -- Can Two-Way Be Far Behind?

Now that the holidays are over and the decorations have been put away for yet another year, can the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and Macworld be far behind? Of course not! CES officially kicks off today, but a flurry of major announcements has already hit the wires. And, anticipation builds for Steve Jobs' next major act as he kicks off Macworld with a likely major announcement surrounding a combined cell phone/music/media player (but don't call it iPhone!).

Verizon Wireless issued one of the most anticipated -- but not surprising -- releases yesterday, confirming that it will officially unveil its full-length "TV programming to mobile phone" initiative by the end of Q1 of this year using Qualcomm's MediaFLO technology ("FLO" stands for "forward link only" -- i.e., one-way communication only). Unlike current mobile video implementations that deliver shows to phones individually, MediaFLO technology concurrently sends the same video programming to tens of thousands of cell phones. And, importantly from a consumer's perspective, Verizon's/Qualcomm's service will include live programming (such as live sporting events and breaking news and information). MediaFLO competes with a host of other new services in a fast growing segment of critical (and lucrative) importance to all players in the mobile food chain.

With live one-way mobile communications now off to the races in the U.S., can live two-way communications (and one-way "see what I'm seeing") be far behind?