Podcasting on the Go

If you’re an up-and-coming podcaster, you might be interested in a new service being tested in Germany that could be the beginning of something bigger.

Hundertelf, a small Internet company in Cologne, Germany, has launched a new mobile podcasting service, called Cellcast, that allows registered users to call from their cell phones, record a message or song and make it available on the Web, the company’s managing director, Wolfgang Fischer, said Friday.

The phone calls are recorded by an answering device and then converted to MP3 files, which are either stored on the Cellcast server or transferred to a server requested by the user.

Currently the service, which is available here, is for free, but users must pay for the call.

The plan is to charge for "premium" podcasts, which, for instance, could be a certain size or available only to a closed group, according to Fischer. "We’re really just testing the waters now to see whether or not there’s demand for this type of service," he said.

The idea of offering a mobile podcast, or mobcast, isn’t entirely new. Early this year, Voice Genesis in Huntington Beach, Calif., launched a service that allows customers to create voice recordings on their phones and e-mail their podcasts to a webpage.

Nor is the name Cellcast new, which you can see if you search www.cellcast.com on the Web. Cellcast, in London, offers a range of interactive broadcast services targeting Internet and mobile phone users.

"We cleared the name in Germany, so we don’t see any problems," Fischer said.

-John Blau, IDG News Service (Dusseldorf Bureau)

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