Wireless Watch for October 8, 2004

Synfonic Debuts SMS-Based Directory

Bay Area firm Synfonic introduced an on-demand SMS-based business directory service. Synfonic411 lets users send a text message with city and state information plus a business name to a ten-digit phone number and receive a desired address and phone number in seconds. Responses also include additional listings for similar businesses in the area. The offering is similar to one just launched by Google.

“Within seconds, our free service will send the user the address and phone number of the restaurant, as well as two or three other restaurants in the neighborhood,” said John Chen, co-founder and chief executive officer of Synfonic. “The service is exactly the same as today’s directory assistance, but you don’t need to write the number down, and we add a couple of alternative suggestions too.”

According to the company’s site, phone numbers are used for no other purpose than to provide requested listings. Synfonic is also planning services including price comparison tools and traffic reports.

Big Leap Predicted for Mobile Data

The world’s wireless subscribers will spend $78 billion on mobile content in 2007, according to a report from Dublin-based Research and Markets. The spending figure is a huge step up from the estimated $16.7 billion laid out for games, video, ringtones and similar content last year. The bulk of revenues will go to operators, the market research firm said, but third-party content players stand to make a bundle.

Among the study’s other findings are that mobile carriers in Europe and Asia are making quite a bit more on data than U.S. operators. As much as 20 percent of total revenues in those regions go to such offerings, while the U.S. figure is only approximately two percent.

Contest Boosts Yahoo Mobile Offerings

Yahoo has wrapped up a camera phone photo contest designed to promote its mobile services. The “Yahoo Picture What Matters” contest asked people to email a picture taken with their camera phone using the company’s mobile phone upload capabilities.

“We received an overwhelming response from people of all ages, which goes to show that the latest in mobile technology doesn’t have to be overly technical — it’s really about communicating,” said Doug Garland, Yahoo’s senior VP of broadband and mobile services.

Yahoo made a $10,000 charity donation on behalf of winner Klya Biba of Venice, Calif., and gave her a camera phone. Nineteen finalists also received phones.

SMS Sweepstakes on iTV

Interactive TV producer Alphabit tapped Rock2Win.com and Iloop Mobile to power an SMS sweepstakes campaign on its “Yellowcard Live ’04” show.

“Thanks to our partners, Rock2Win.com, we have created a really fun, interactive experience that creates a show within the show,” said Eric Schwertzel, president of Alphabit.

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