Is getting news on your mobile phone a satisfying or frustrating experience?

    by Mark Glaser
    June 19, 2007

    So many people have cell phones with web access that media companies are falling over each other to deliver content to cell phones. A recent article in the New York Times noted that CBS, News Corp. and ESPN are all putting big resources into mobile content, news and video delivered to cell phones, but the article also pointed out that only 44% of cell phone users get video or Net content on their phones. Part of the problem is that many sites are not built specifically for small screens with slower connection speeds. The experience of getting news on phones has been pretty hit-or-miss. Have you tried getting news delivered to your phone or by surfing news sites on your mobile? What’s your experience been like — satisfying or frustrating? If you have found good applications or mobile browsers that help your experience, please share. I’ll run the best comments in the next Your Take Roundup.

    Tagged: cellphones comments mobile web
    • Mark,

      It depends on how well the mobile portal is designed. I have a Treo and I enjoy reading WSJ articles immensely. I think mdog.com powers their web portal (it’s text based, easy to navigate and quick to load).

      NYT’s mobile portal is another story. It’s slow and a nightmare to navigate. In my opinion, it boils down to thinking about how to create a user-friendly experience.

    • jordon

      I agree with Kyle that a website’s portal makes a world of difference. However, I use my online RSS reader 90% of the time, which helps to bypass the limitations of surfing on a mobile phone.

      Despite the obvious drawbacks to reading news on a mobile–few graphics, lots of scrolling, awkward navigation like that of the NYT portal–I enjoy not getting newsprint on my fingers. I’m also sure that everyone who sits next to me on the train would tell you they are glad they can avoid getting whacked by my outstretched arms as I turn the page.

      So on the whole, I think smartphones are an exceedingly streamlined way to enjoy your morning commute. But RSS readers definitely help.

    • I rarely use my cellphone to get news, largely because my provider offers very basic online support with my current plan. Generally I only use my cellphone to check news if I want to check the headlines or find a sport’s score.

      It will be interesting to see how the many new smart phones coming on the market will change how people access news. Most likely I my next cellphone will be more advanced and my reading habits will change as a result.

    • I can’t imagine getting my news on a normal cellphone, but I wouldn’t mind getting it on an Apple iPhone — at least based on Apple’s online demos and commercials. Whether the iPhone succeeds or not, it’s already shown us that current technology is still pretty bad compared to what we’ll all be using in a few years.

    • Paul Williams

      I recently began using my MotoQ for reading news while traveling. I agree with Kyle and Jordan that the presentation makes a significant difference. WSJ.com, boston.com, weather.com, maps.google.com on mobile are readable and useful. The point is that the print or full-fledged Web experience should not be replicated in the mobile environment. The content should wed with the delivery channel, its limitations and its opportunities.

      Satisfaction/frustration aside, the business model and opportunity offers an intriquing discussion. Some points:

      — Mobile advertising is predicted to increase 100fold to US$40 billion in only a few years.
      — The 20- and 30-somethings are comfortable and experienced in this medium. In many ways, the smart mobiles are the Swiss Army knives of that generation.
      — Finally, I read a comment recently that media companies, specifically newspapers, may not become significantly profitable on the Web because traditionally Web content has been free. (This excludes some newspapers with specialized content like WSJ.) However, emerging business models favor content on mobile because, again traditionally, mobile content has been pay as you go. Put another way, Web content has not been monetized, and mobile content has been monetized. Thus, consumers are used to paying for mobile content.

    • jackie113

      I love the new iphone because it has cool things that it never has before in its daily life a wireless internet connection modulator


    • Hi Mark;

      We at Adondo have developed some new technology; we can now scrape web pages and feeds, such as WSJ, NYT, Wired News etc. and deliver them via the audio channel.. to any telephone, (including cell phones) anywhere..

      And no Internet access is required.

      Bill Burke
      Now playing, on any cell phone:
      Podcasts, Live Feeds, Blogs, and more ..

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