Content anywhere, anytime

Content anywhere, anytime
: Om Malik is talking up fixed wireless broadband. Newsweek is hyping it. I’ll leave it to wireless geeks to prognosticate about the technology.

I’ll prognosticate about content.

I haven’t seen anyone publicly exploring what content will be like when we can get anything anywhere anytime.

Forget phones. Forget PCs. Forget TVs. Forget iPods.

Once we have ubiquitous wi-fi over broad areas, we’ll be able to get our own content — music, files, photos, shopping lists, messages — and outside content — news, music, TV shows, movies, weblogs, search engines — anywhere anytime. And that content can be customized to our location: The holy phone grail of finally telling me where the nearest Starbucks or McDonald’s is becomes a mere matter of a click.

You’ve heard all that before.

But now imagine that we can consume news all day, in any spare moment, as we walk, as we drive: our news, what we’re interested in, the news directed to us.

I do it now. On my dandy Treo 600, I find myself reading my blog comments as I walk down the street (and I damn near run into people). I read Instapundit (though it takes too long to download the whole darned blogroll). I read CNN (though it is clumsy — I find that GoogleNews works well on the small screen!).

Douglas Rushkoff just wrote a column saying he doesn’t want TV on his phone. Short-sighted, I think. He’s still thinking in terms of phones and TVs. I’m thinking of a portable device not unlike my Treo (maybe a little bigger) that lets me watch the news when I want, read it when I want, hear it when I want, get entertained when I want, communicate when I want, publish when I want! He’s right that we’ll still use multiple devices; my phone will not replace my TV. But we will use a new mobile device that will be location-aware and locations will be content-aware and the nature of content will change.

News will be constant.

And waiting will no longer be quite an onerous. When I wait for my plane, I can catch up or communicate. When I am stuck in traffic, I can listen to my news. When I sit on the couch at home, I publish to the world. I’m doing this now with my Treo. I’ll simply be doing more faster better anywhere anytime when connectivity is constant.

News will be everywhere.