CNNMoney.com, the joint online business effort of CNN, Fortune and Money magazines has become the latest business news outlet to launch an iPhone application. It joins the New York Times, the AP, Reuters,Bloomberg and others who currently offer applications for iPhone users.
Canadian-based Polar Mobile, who has designed previous mobile applications for Rogers Publishing Limited and TheStreet.com, was behind the launch of CNNMoney Mobile. In addition to the iPhone application, the mobile initiative also includes future service plans for BlackBerry users.
The free iPhone application features breaking news alerts, top headlines, near real-time market and stock data and video. It also allows users to personalize content including news sections and a stock watch list.
Given CNNMoney’s focus and demographic, it’s somewhat strange that users (like myself) on the de-facto mobile business device (i.e. the BlackBerry) will have to wait longer than iPhone users for a mobile app. However, they’re obviously going for early adopters and attempting to strike while the iron is hot around iPhone apps. BlackBerry apps and the BlackBerry App World are still in their infancy. But why free? Didn’t they learn anything from USA Today? Or read Malcolm Gladwell’s review of Free?
Look at what the Journal is doing with some specialized, paid content on WSJ.com. Users will pay for exclusive news, especially business and stock news. That applies to the mobile content as well. It’s something I noted in responding to a survey that Fortune’s Andy Sewer, Stephanie Mehta and David Kirkpatrick are currently undertaking for the upcoming Brainstorm: Tech conference. I hope this app doesn’t curtail a future Fortune mobile app. There is a better revenue strategy to be put into play by publishers getting into the mobile app space.