I want my iTV

At the O’Reilly Web 2.0 Summit conference in San Francisco, a context switch from Web 2.0 to cloud computing is well under way. Wired’s Kevin Kelly suggested a variation of the Semantic Web where pages give way to the data on the pages, with each of those chunks representing real objects in physical space, or a Kelly said, anything that can hold an electric charge.

AT&T’s Ralph de la Vega told Mike Arrington that he foresaw a world where phones controlled TVs, coffee machines, cars, and every other device along the way to and from work. The notion of a universal remote or mouse as Microsoft Research defined it years ago is now becoming an economic reality, one that de la Vega suggests is recession-immune as of now. The presence of a keyboard, whether physical as per the Blackberry Bold or virtual on the iPhone, is the new dividing line, with AT&T deriving north of $95 a month revenue versus $58 per month for the average user.

de la Vega responded to an audience question by confirming AT&T will “shortly” release software to allow iPhone tethering to PCs. A German blog also reported an iPhone 2.2 software update will allow direct downloading of podcasts, bypassing iTunes and essentially kickstarting a streaming model for advertiser-supported media on the go. The new service reportedly is limited to 10MB per file, which provides additional ad inventory for longer shows.

de la Vega said AT&T 3G actually supports up to 3.6 megabits service, but today the maximimum available is 700K for phones up to 1.7mbs for laptops. With today’s Wayport acquisition, which adds 20,000 wifi hotspots available to iPhone and other AT&T-supported devices, and AT&T’s U-Verse IPTV service, which bundles wireless access and a screen to screen DVR capability in the home, AT&T is close to establishing an alternate media service that may well supplant cable and even broadcast media control.

As we’re seeing with iterative granularized API access to micromessaging services, the on-demand information services that users can cobble together continue to outperform last-gen models among early adopters. As de la Vega suggests, simplicity and ease of use will soon overwhem bandwidth, carrier, and device restrictions as the key driver of mobile disruption. The old song is becoming: I want my iTV.