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Mobile content is king

Lisa Napoli Sep 12, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL: Apple CEO Steve Jobs did today what he does every year. He whipped out some fancy new gizmos at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco. There were some new iPods and all that. But the headliner’s movies on iTunes, $12.99 for new releases.

The war between cable companies and phone companies heated up today. AT&T launched a new service that lets you watch TV on your computer. For $20 a month, and the click of a mouse, you can get 20 channels in real time. Executives from another tech industry that’s changing as fast as you can keep up have come to Los Angeles this week. Marketplace’s Lisa Napoli takes a look:

LISA NAPOLI: As competition forces cellphone companies to slash the price of calls, the industry is looking for new ways to generate cash. Xavier Gregoire has come to L.A. from France to hawk one potentially profitable option:

XAVIER GREGOIRE: We’re doing video technology, optimized video technology for mobile devices.

There’s more to this show than turning your phone into a movie theater. Michael Cibula’s company is all about mobile, interactive games. He’s selling something that lets you play along with Monday Night Football on your cellphone.

MICHAEL CIBULA: You’re at a bar, you’re at home, anywhere you’ve got a TV. Theoretically, you can play it while driving a car.

Let’s hope not. But driving while playing games isn’t the only new cellphone hazard out there.

SAL VIVEROS: There was a pretty public threat last week in spain . . .

That’s Sal Viveros of security firm McAfee.

VIVEROS: A smishing attack that told people they were entered into a dating service and then click on here to give them more information and to uninstall — we’re starting to see more of those types of attacks.”

Smishing, by the way, is like phishing on your computer — a way of conning you into giving out personal data. And the fact that people are hacking into phones underscores how important they’ve become. So says venture capitalist Jon Staenberg:

JON STAENBERG:“This is sort of what the PC industry was 20 years ago. This is the new platform and that’s why you’ve got to be here.”

In Los Angeles, I’m Lisa Napoli for Marketplace.

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