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Ireland brewing 3G content

handheld device
3G promises to improve content for handheld and mobile devices  

By CNN's Tom Bogdanowicz

DUBLIN, Ireland (CNN) -- Delivering content that attracts users is one of the challenges for 3G. Ireland -- which has a reputation for attracting tech firms -- is now proving to be a cradle for 3G software and content designers.

Without useful content, a personal digital assistant would just be another expensive paperweight -- much like an Irish pub would just be another warehouse without the Guinness and the whisky.

Irish companies are pouring their skills into creating content and software for third-generation mobile with the enthusiasm that beer connoisseurs down their drinks.

One such company is Mapflow, which offers maps and other detailed information for mobile handsets and digital devices.

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"For example, I could log on to a device and ... find out where my friends are with respect to where I am. And there are corporate applications like asset tracking and the ability to find van No. 3 which is late for delivery No. 4," says Mapflow founder Harvey Appelbe.

Just outside Dublin, software firm ANAM seeks to satisfy the desires of sports fanatics.

3G promises to deliver action replays to your mobile within seconds of an event. ANAM is confident that it has a killer application, but it's not so sure about the financial score.

"The technology is just ramping along, (and then) on the back of that changing technology we have the business models totally changing: who's going to make money, how will you make money, what's the role of the operators, how will the content providers make money, will the operators pay the content providers -- there are lots of scenarios," says ANAM CEO Michael Brady.

A few kilometres from ANAM, year-old software house ChangingWorlds rejects suggestions that 3G will suffer from a lack of content.

The Internet is becoming ever more crowded with information, it says. For a mobile handset or wireless device, content overload is the problem. ChangingWorlds thinks its software is the answer.

"It eliminates the information overload problem by intelligently filtering information content for the individual user. So I will see information that is particularly relevant to me, you will see information that is relevant to you," says ChangingWorlds founder Barry Smyth.

It's a safe bet that consumers in Ireland and elsewhere will want 3G sports clips, maps and information.

What's unclear is how much they are prepared to pay for it. Content may be king, but the price still has to be right.

• Who will benefit most from 3G?
May 15, 2001
• Expectations high for 3G
May 14, 2001

• ChangingWorlds
• Mapflow

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