Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 14/07/2003Ah, the traditional street cries of the down and outs of Olde London Towne. The tube station drugs dealer: "Wannany blow, mate?

Monday 14/07/2003
Ah, the traditional street cries of the down and outs of Olde London Towne. The tube station drugs dealer: "Wannany blow, mate?"; the merry tramp: "Got any change? What, coppers? You takin' the mick?" and the dot-com paper millionaire: "Big Issue! Big Issue!" The newest is also the most plaintively evocative, that of the mobile phone dealer: "Who will buy my lovely 3G phone? Who will buy? Look, it's got footie and everything. Oh, sod it. Big Issue! Big Issue!" For it is truly said: two-way video on your mobile phone is not proving the hit of the year. NEC thinks it has the answer -- build in a digital TV tuner so you can watch Top Of The Pops on the top deck of the bus. Well, yes. Why not. It's hard to see this as the saviour of the entire 3G project -- after all, how many people have bothered with pocket TVs already? As Clive Sinclair found out, the market is smaller than the sets themselves. The fact that the digital television network isn't really developed enough to support portable tellies with their token antennas won't help. Moved by the plight of the mobile phone companies, we convene an emergency meeting in the Bit and Pixel down the road to brainstorm some smart ideas. As the evening progresses, three in particular prove popular. Anti beer-goggles: You phone up a (guaranteed sober) friend in HQ, and send back video of the person you drunkenly think would be a good bet for the evening. Responses would range from "What species is THAT?" and "Oh lord, no. Back away from the bar and go home. Now." to "Roger, go for main engine launch" and "Err, not sure. Get their phone number and pass it over." Streetfinder: You slide onto a night bus or late cab, point your videophone out of the window and get your mate at home to watch until you get into your street. Then they wake you up. Home, James: As before, but you get your mate to point their camera out of the window. Then tell the cabbie "Tha's where I live. Off you go" before slumping into a much-needed slumber. Winners, all. 3G mobile phone companies, you have our numbers. We await your call.

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