Ten Things We Hate About Mobile Video

Mobile video is supposed to be one of the services that increases carrier data revenues and replaces voice as a money maker for the cellcos. Video on your mobile phone isn't quite ready for prime time yet, however, and here's why.

1. Video kills your battery life
Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown has been testing Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD)'s 7 Mbit/s 3G upgrade in London and finding that battery life, not network speed, is what will stop users downloading all the video they can consume. (See Vodafone's Blazin' 3G Upgrade.)

"Mobile video is great, but it kills your battery," Brown tells Unstrung. "You can only watch a couple of clips a day before charge-anxiety sets in."

Developers would be wise to note this. "Applications that can cope with being disconnected or can stay live in idle mode without consuming too much power will be much more usable and successful," Brown says.

2. Video can flatten the network
Conversely, users with a laptop and a 3G card -- a setup less subject to battery life concerns than phones -- can eat capacity on carrier networks with video downloads, uploads, and peer-to-peer (P2P) applications.

That's why Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is planning to put a 5 GByte cap on data users on its "mobile broadband" and "phone as modem" flat-rate data plans starting July 13. A Sprint spokeswoman says that a "very small percentage" of computer users on the plans were using lots of data, typically with P2P traffic. Other carriers in the U.S. have also capped some of their data plans.

Heavy Reading's Brown says there is less concern about phones taking too much network capacity. "Charge anxiety is a natural hedge for operators offering flat-rate data plans, because it stops users consuming too much data on their handsets," he says. This could change as video-capable phones become more widespread.

3. It's too expensive
Mobile video can be an expensive little pastime. At the base level, users are looking at a $200 smartphone and a $60 -- or more -- data plan to watch video. These costs can rise if you want to watch on a fancy iPhone or Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) N-series handset. This isn't even taking into account any premium downloads that content providers and carriers offer.

4. Too many formats
There are just too many formats that a mobile video developer can potentially write to. For instance, Flash Lite from Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE) seems to be popular and a natural choice for developers, since popular sites like YouTube Inc. use the format for their videos. Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), however, has made it clear it isn't keen on the Flash format. What's a content developer to do? (See Microsoft Gets Flashed and iPhone & YouTube.)

5. User-generated crap
Weird things happen when people get creative with their cellphones, as this video shows:

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menexis 12/5/2012 | 4:06:53 PM
re: Ten Things We Hate About Mobile Video Number 2 is one of the big reasons why AT&T changed its TOS to Limit mobile videos.
IPobserver 12/5/2012 | 3:39:14 PM
re: Ten Things We Hate About Mobile Video This is on the nerdy side of the tracksGǪ

ThereGÇÖs a utility for S60 phones you can use to monitor the power consumption of your handset when different apps are running, and/or when the device is in different network states (active, idle, etc).

Martin has posted an article on his WirelessMoves blog here: http://mobilesociety.typepad.c...

You can download it here: http://www.forum.nokia.com/inf...

I havenGÇÖt got around to trying it yet.
lrmobile_kumaramitabh 12/5/2012 | 3:38:55 PM
re: Ten Things We Hate About Mobile Video Many of the ills of Mobile Video such as higher power consumption,anxiety of battery life ( and perhaps the logic of watching video on a mobile itself?) are in fact overcome by the Mobile TV. Unfortunately its use is not very common yet, but watching mobile TV even for an hour does not set back a 1250mAH battery even by 10%. Mobile TV content is quite timely as you need to gets news and weather as you are on the move, so despite it being noisy it has its uses. The quality is flawless by technologies such as MediaFLO and DVB-H and it need not cost you a packet as you need not download anything and do not need a data plan.
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