Mobile
Commentary
3/26/2009
10:45 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
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Is RIM Prepping Video Download Service?

According to informed sources, Research In Motion is set to announced a new, full-episode television download service for its BlackBerry devices. Is RIM ramping up efforts to compete on the mobile content front?

According to informed sources, Research In Motion is set to announced a new, full-episode television download service for its BlackBerry devices. Is RIM ramping up efforts to compete on the mobile content front?Nokia, the world's largest maker of mobile phones, has made an aggressive push into the mobile content space over the course of the last 18 months, with its Nokia Music Store, Comes With Music and other Ovi-based content services. The jury is still out on how successful those efforts have been.

Despite the slow uptake of mobile video, it appears as though RIM is plowing forward with just such a service. NewTeeVee asserts that multiple sources confirm such plans are in place. The details they have note that the service will be unlimited with monthly service fees, content will download in the background via Wi-Fi (no cellular downloading?), and multiple TV networks have agreed to provide the content.

By downloading the content via Wi-Fi, it appears that RIM may be side-stepping wireless network operators. It's unclear if the carriers are involved at all. If not, I'd suspect they're less than thrilled, as they'd probably prefer customers to subscribe to their own video services. Using Wi-Fi, rather than cellular, for wireless downloads means RIM's flagship device, the BlackBerry Storm, would be left out in the cold, as it doesn't have Wi-Fi on board.

It's somewhat intriguing that only TV -- and not movies -- are mentioned. Why wouldn't RIM offer movies, too? Too much to download? Higher licensing costs? No one has details on the pricing, which will surely be a major factor in how successful this venture may be.

The CTIA wireless trade show is scheduled for next week. It would be an opportune time for RIM to announce such a service, especially since the wireless industry is anxiously awaiting the launch of the BlackBerry App World. WIll it happen? Stay tuned.

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