Status: Closed (Completed)


September 2007 -- The group finished the first draft of the Mobile Audio Technologies report in May 2005. Because of the complexity of the subject matter and the rapid changes in mobile phones and services, the report received numerous comments and questions, resulting in numerous rewrites, edits and revisions through the end of 2005. By March 2006, the group no longer had consensus on what should and should not be contained in the report, so the IASIG Steering Committee assumed responsibility for completing the report. Working with individuals in the MAWG through 2006 and most of 2007, the Steering Committee was able to complete a draft that adequately describes the current conditions, expected trends, and -- more importantly -- the desires of the content development community regarding mobile audio tools and technologies.

Overview of Proposal

This group will discuss methods for improving interactive audio production techniques for cell phones and other mobile devices. Topics proposed are ringtones, mobile game audio, and system UI sounds. The group will decide the scope of the project, identify problems facing the mobile audio industry, and determine areas where recommendations can most effectively be made. Once a consensus is reached, a report will be published detailing the group’s conclusions and providing guidelines for sound designers, content providers, and systems software developers working in the mobile space.


The market for mobile audio products is exploding, creating opportunities for sound designers, content providers, and record companies. Audio technologies for mobile devices are being developed and deployed at an astonishing rate, driven by an insatiable consumer demand. The ability to personalize cell phones with audio (particularly in the form of ringtones) is a powerful motivation for consumers to spend money, which produces additional revenue streams for carriers eager to recoup their massive infrastructure investments.

However, the plethora of file formats and operating systems makes audio content creation and delivery a difficult and inefficient proposition. Content providers are required to maintain multiple catalogs in various formats and resolutions. Game audio designers and programmers must either re-invent the wheel for each mobile title, or forgo complex interactive soundtracks altogether. Although Java-based systems attempt to address some of these problems, audio is still severely limited by tight bandwidth constraints and cross-platform incompatibilities.

These issues are reminiscent of problems faced by audio content providers working with Web audio in the ’90s and game audio in the ’80s. Are there any lessons learned then that can be applied to help mobile audio producers now and in the future?

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