Adult content might jump-start mobile video, much as it did for the VCR, the DVD and video-on-demand services. Phone porn found a market in Europe, but no major U.S. carrier has expressed interest in endorsing anything of the kind. Users intent on taking porn with them must download videos to a computer, then transfer them to the most sophisticated phones.
Playboy Media recently started its own channel on Mywaves, but the fare is similar to preexisting Sports Illustrated swimsuit shows.
This struck Alex Fowler, the 19-year-old second runner-up for the title of Miss Playboy Mobile, as unfair. "Why just limit it to sports?" she asked. "They ought to be able to see women as well."
Tom Hagopian, general manger of the company's digital effort, said Playboy and others would bring adult content to American phones, either as the wireless carriers seek to maximize revenue by making direct deals or as they loosen control of the airwaves.
"Mobile should be about the destination, not the journey," Hagopian said.
"Nobody says: 'There's this great website, but I can't get there because I have an Acer computer.' "