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Wireless phone software and services company Geoworks Corp says it has developed a way for carriers to integrate advertising and sponsorship into its Premion Information Services offering, announced in August. The company believes that wireless handsets, such as those enabled by Symbian Ltd’s EPOC platform or Geoworks’ own WAP-based Premion Interface+, are ideal platforms for delivering advertising and services. It is actually now working on content delivery with Symbian, the rival that essentially chased the company out of the operating systems for smart phones market and into the mid-level enhanced phone market. A spokesperson for the company admitted that Symbian will end up owning a lot of that [smart phone O/S] market. But advertising is a way forward into services delivery market that constitutes much of Geoworks’ future. Geoworks says the inclusion of advertising answers the key question of who will foot the bill for information services that consumers may find valuable, but are reluctant to pay extra for. The company insists it developed its advertising strategy after a fair amount of research had indicated that the overwhelming majority of respondents said that they found embedded sponsorships and promotions in information services acceptable. The types of services that Premion offers include could include traditional news, weather reports or stock quotes, as well as more innovative things, such as a reminder service that allows consumers to be automatically notified about important dates or appointments. Geoworks also reckons that advertising on wireless devices – much like on the internet – enables advertisers to have one-on-one contact with consumers, target specific segments and create direct marketing relationships. On top of that, a phone is also an ideal medium for direct marketing, according to the company, since any sponsorship message or advertisement can encourage an immediate one-button response to a call center. The Premion service is still in only limited use through a pilot program for users of Fujitsu Ltd’s ByeDesk Link server software. Geoworks says it has yet to get wireless operators seriously interested in taking up the service, but remains optimistic.

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CBR Staff Writer

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