A friend of mine is working with MobiTV (www.mobitv.com), a company that delivers real-time video to mobile phones. I saw a demo of the technology working on a Sprint PCS phone and was very impressed. Granted, the picture was a bit small and the frame rate was modest, but you could actually watch television in a reasonably pleasant fashion directly from a current handset.
Overall, I think that MobiTV was very impressive. I have had an ongoing internal debate as to whether video is a really important application for mobile devices. Sure, carriers are investing large sums of money to increase the throughput capabilities on their mobile networks. There are two potential impediments to widespread mobile video delivered to handsets:
Battery Life – I can barely get my color screen mobile phone to last a full day if I leave the Bluetooth radio on. I shudder to think about the impact of watching a 30-minute episode of Seinfeld would have on my battery constrained device.
Video Consumption Patterns – I am not sure that normal broadcast TV is what I will want to consume on my phone. Even if I have 30 minutes to spare, I am not sure that I would want to watch an entire television program on my phone. I would, however, probably watch some kind of condensed video program (ideally international news) if it could be delivered on a regular basis.