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Pure E: Digital Products and Mobile Portals

Clearly, we are entering the Pure "E" decade—an era of digital products. A digital product is one for which the product is made online, stored online, sold online, delivered online, and consumed online. Some first-generation examples are digital music, software, books, and photos.

How digital goods will be delivered is already changing. In the future, delivery will come, in many cases, as a service across the Internet (for example, via streaming media) instead of as a packaged product. Even the means for creating digital content is changing. Contributing to the growth of digital products are the proliferation of Internet-access devices (such as set-top boxes, WebTV, and video game consoles), cheap and abundant availability of bandwidth, sub-$500 PCs, growing free PC programs, and industry standardization of application programming interfaces (APIs).

Mobile Portals: New Platforms for Digital Media Delivery

Seemingly overnight, the wireless revolution exploded, intensifying the movement toward mobile commerce. New programming languages, platforms, and protocols are embraced almost with abandon, or at least little consideration, while new partnerships and wireless portals are announced daily. The market for the delivery of Internet services through handheld devices is new and evolving rapidly.

The business strategy behind the handheld computing marketing is straightforward. If you take control of the operating system infrastructure, you also control the software applications developed to run on it. As handheld devices are adopted in greater numbers and handheld device applications become integrated into other information appliances, an opportunity exists for these operating-system developers to extend their platforms for use on other handheld devices.

The wireless revolution isn't only about handheld devices, though. It's also about the new generation of software infrastructure, which will soon enable the convergence of the Internet and mobile telephony. The next-generation mobile delivery systems include voice browsers and telephony-based speech-recognition systems. Now telephony-based speech recognition is extending to the Web. The business models in this area are in their infancy.

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