Verizon Wireless recently introduced its VCAST service, the latest upgrade on handheld communication devices. VCAST, a new multimedia service available through Get It Now® is television programming for your phone. (After the iPod video launch over the holidays, we can expect a lot of this from here on out.)
That handheld communication device that used to be called your cell phone has changed a lot of rituals lately.
Been to a rock concert? Instead of holding up candles or cigarette lighters, people are holding their cell phones aloft, taking photos or calling their friends into the concert arena.
When the Pope died last summer, Poles in Warsaw text messaged ten of their friends to come to a memorial service in the soccer field where the Pope had once conducted Mass. Within three hours, over 100,000 people were on the field.
Taking photos with cell phones has dramatically changed that ritual. Now photos can be shared instantaneously with friends on the other side of the planet. No waiting allowed. My wife and I were hiking outside of Portland, Oregon when we came upon a rattlesnake on the trail. She instantly pulled out her cell phone and snapped a shot and zapped it to astonished daughters back home.
I understand that VCAST allows me to get news from CNN, sports from ESPN, stock reports from MarketWatch, not to mention movies and 3D games.
My problem is that with over 100 channels on wall-mounted television, I rarely find anything to watch. Ubiquity is one thing, content is another. The ritual of not finding anything worth watching is the one ritual I truly wish Verizon and VCAST would change.