Previewing Content – Japan: Sometimes, US: No
Last week, sr. contributing editor Michael Thuresson sent in a user-level review of his new Sanyo handset that he uses on the Sprint network. As you scroll through a list of tones, you cannot sample them before you buy them. Hard for people new to this idea to get interested if they can’t do that! Then they cost $1 each and expire in 90 days.”
“Afterwards, Carolynne Schloeder, executive vice-president of Faith West Inc. – creator of the “music for i-mode” (MFi) ring-tone file format used on i-mode – sent a comment stating that Sprint doesn’t allow ring tone previews from the phone because “they’re downloading through WAP, and that’s currently not possible.”
She added that streaming technology for WAP (which is also used by KDDI in Japan for EZwewb) is in the works, but couldn’t confirm when it would launch or from whom. Carolynne also mentioned that Faith has built one Java (J2ME) application to solve this problem, but the company hasn’t released it into the wild yet. It would be possible to create a BREWlet that would also allow a streaminG preview of a multimedia file.
In Japan, NTT DoCoMo allows some sound files to be previewed, namely the audio files distributed via download-and-playback on the M-Stage music service that runs on the 64-kbps PHS network (not i-mode). Otherwise, it’s rare for a ring-tone provider to offer previews in Japan.