Only about 25% of U.S. cell-phone customers have a data plan. So the mass of users generally can't access multimedia content on their phone without incurring unwanted fees. Hook Mobile is a platform that acts as a go-between for social media and content companies and the mobile carriers to open up MMS as a network to expand content consumption on phones. "Social media is where content is uploaded and shared," says Craig Dalton, Hook Mobile's VP of business development. "We're bringing that bite-sized content to MMS. Why limit the delivery of a sentiment to Facebook?"
Hook Mobile thinks it has a leg up because it's done all the hard work behind the scenes, and customers are already used to the idea of MMS through their avid use of SMS. "Nothing elicits a more definite response than when your phone beeps with a message," Dalton says. Hook Mobile handles intercarrier connectivity and billing, and it optimizes the photos, images, or audio for each user's phone bandwidth and screen dimensions.
Its challenge is finding the right customers to convince to use its service. For example, Paramount Studios is a client, delivering movie clips from its Facebook app, Voozoo Mobile, to any mobile phone.
Next Wednesday, November 12, an impressive gathering of startups and mobile-industry poohbahs -- everyone from major VCs from firms such as Kleiner Perkins to executives from companies such as T-Mobile, AT&T, CBS, Verizon, Alltel, Comcast, Nokia, Microsoft, and R/GA -- will meet in Mountain View, California, to choose America's Next Top Mobile Startup at Under the Radar. As a moderator, I will be previewing the event by providing snapshots of the companies whose sessions I am facilitating