On a Japanese cell phone, Hello Kitty might scamper across the menu. But animation is still new to American phones. Now, carriers like AT&T, Cingular, Nextel, Sprint and Verizon are rolling out phones with J2ME and BREW technologies. Animation may be pre-installed, part of a package or priced per download.
It's neat for 14-year-olds, but how will animation help your business? Applications may target vertical markets, says Eddie Hold of Current Analysis Inc., a competitive solutions provider in Sterling, Virgina. Animated Doppler radar can display weather information, and it may be easier to navigate menus by giving voice commands to cartoon characters. Mitsubishi Labs is working on software so you can tell Super Mario to snag phone numbers. Hold predicts animated services will be well-established by 2004.
San Francisco-based Erik P. Nelson is a frequent contributor to Entrepreneur.
- Current Analysis Inc.
21335 Signal Hill Plaza, 2nd Fl., Sterling, VA 20164, (703) 404-9200