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Handango, EA sign global mobile game distribution deal

Smartphone content provider Handango Inc. has signed a mobile game distribution deal with Electronic Arts to expand its content offerings.

Mobile game developer EA Mobile's titles EA Sports Madden NFL '08m, FIFA Manager '08, the Sims 2, the Sims Bowling, Monopoly Here & Now, Hard Rock Casino, Medal of Honor, Command & Conquer, Tetris and Bejeweled will be available on Microsoft's Windows Mobile, Research In Motion's BlackBerry and Symbian UIQ through Handango's Web properties and its on-device client, InHand.

"We're so excited about the EA deal, because the newer, more mainstream customer, what we call the early majority, may not be familiar with some of our business and productivity applications, but they certainly understand the appeal of EA's game titles and they know what they're going to get," said Melanie Angermann, vice president of marketing for Handango, Hurst, TX.

"We want to grow with our target market, and the people who are buying smartphones are changing," she said. "It used to be high-tech older men, but the price for some models has gone down to as little as $79 with a two-year plan, so now there's a different target user of smartphones."

Handango says that its core target demographic is consumers from 25-45 years old, skewing a little more male.

"However, women are picking up on mobile applications as well and customers in their fifties are too," Ms. Angermann said. "While a lot of younger people buy mobile games, we have early adopters from 10 years ago who are also looking for great content for their smartphone."

With the demographics of smartphone users shifting, it is no wonder that the applications smartphone users are downloading shifted as well.

"We do a yardstick looking at consumption of content and what different types of applications people are buying," Ms. Angermann said. "For the first time in the history of our company, games and entertainment applications, including IM and TV apps, exceeded business and professional apps.

"Mobile applications used to always be about saving time, but now we say our consumers are a combination of people who want to save time and people who want to kill time," she said.

Handango's content delivery platform Handango AMPP is used by Microsoft, HP, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Alltel, AT&T and AOL.

Titles including the Sims 2 Pets expansion pack, EA Sports FIFA Manager '08 and Tetris will be available in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish.

Handango sells applications through its Web site and via handsets through its In Hand application, which is downloadable via mobile phone at and online at

The application immediately reads what kind of phone a user has and downloads in about two or three minutes.

"Consumers can shop our catalog right on their handheld device," Ms. Angermann said. "Some of the most popular applications downloaded via In Hand are some of the new EA games."

There is no advertising on Handango's Web site. The company operates mostly on a pay-per-download model, although it does offer monthly subscriptions.

Handango offers more than 100,000 smartphone applications on its Web site. Some applications are free and most are less than $25.

Most mobile games range between $10 and $20.

"Compared to the price of any other form of entertainment, it really is a great value," Ms. Angermann said. "People can pass the time at the airport or wherever they are."