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About Wireless Software and Content

A wireless application is software that runs on wireless devices or servers to exchange content over a wireless network. Wireless applications are different from PC applications in that the guts of the content are expected to reside elsewhere and are expected to personalize content. Stand-alone PC applications such as spreadsheets continuously operate on local storage, whereas wireless applications operate temporarily and connect and exchange their underlying data at a moment's notice. But it's the application's payload of current and relevant content that mobile users value.

Personal Content Drives the Wireless Internet

The secret of the future wireless industry lies in content more than any other one factor. Content is digital media that originates from stored or live sources. Most current Internet content comes from stored locations on a database or a filesystem. But content can be originated live from the field, such as a video stream, voice conversation, or live wireless telemetry. The digital industry is based on an obvious mechanic—content runs on software that runs on hardware (see Figure 2). The emerging emphasis of content over software and hardware is a significant technical and business dynamic.

Figure 2 The growth of hardware, software, and content.

The Death of the Killer Application

As the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) has said, it's important to think in terms of providing useful services, not killer apps. Some companies are trying to relive the early days of computers to find the killer app—software so powerful that it forces a hardware sale. But the dynamic today clearly spotlights content. It might be said that the browser was the last killer app—it started the Internet. If you believe George Gilder in Telecosm (Free Press, 2000), it also ended the computer industry. The market dynamic is much larger. Take for example location-based services. The combination of the locating device, mapping application, and geocoded content is the cornerstone of the wireless Internet market. A location application is useless without geocoded content.

The New Content

Ninety-nine percent of future wireless Internet content doesn't even exist. It will be created by the patterns of people on the go. It will be created by new wireless telemetry. It will be the result of wireless applications that create, distribute, operate, and manage content systems.

A greater wireless Internet of content is now being formed as wireless applications are not merely receivers, but also the sources. New sources of content are made possible by the mobile public. Their devices may provide it, if your architecture permits. The personal mobile network can generate broad useful content now qualified by real-time direct experience. The run-of-the-mill Internet site never had to deal with the richness or precision of wireless Internet content that has to be located, time-stamped, synchronized, and distributed to multitudes of mobile devices. Wireless content. There is more of it, there are more sources for it, and it changes more frequently. The perfect task of a wireless application.

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