July 10, 2002 2:20 PM PDT
News broadcasts--hot off the cell phone
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The news wire service is one of the growing numbers of companies to embrace the wireless Web as a new medium to distribute their content, even though most Americans still aren't surfing the Web with their cell phones.
The Federal Communications Commission estimates that between 8 million and 10 million people used the wireless Web during 2001. While that's quadruple the total in 2001, it still represents a very small percentage of the 140 million Americans who own cell phones.
Entertainment giants such as Walt Disney and game makers such as Electronic Arts are undaunted, though, and have signed deals to distribute their games onto cell phones.
"The wireless Internet is trending up significantly, and news is a viable application for wireless Internet," said Craig Konieczko, the promotions manager for AP Digital, the division of The Associated Press that provides content to Web sites.
Konieczko said the AP would make available its "AP All-New Radio," a 24-hour live news broadcast. These broadcasts can already be accessed by dialing a telephone number, which can be considered a long-distance call.
Using a Web browser to listen in can be cheaper, because most carriers consider wireless Web browsing to be either a local call, or charge by amount of information a person downloads, he said. Most of the cell phones now sold have a wireless Web browser.
The Associated Press is already supplying news for wireless users in the form of wireless e-mail alerts sent to cell phones, Konieczko said.