New tech title: Future sets launch of 'MobilePC'

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Future Network USA, the renamed company known in higher-flying times as Imagine Media, is ambitiously launching a tech niche title.

Mobile PC, focusing on the burgeoning mobile and wireless market, will debut on newsstands in December with a January 2004 issue. The monthly will launch with a rate base of 200,000-half of which, Future Network Publishing Director Simon Whitcombe said, will be distributed on newsstands.

It's the first U.S. launch for the company since The Official Xbox Magazine hit newsstands in fall 2001.

"Mobility is the new platform," Mr. Whitcombe said, whipping through an array of facts about the growth in the mobile and wireless sectors, and the projected explosion in places providing wireless Internet access. Laptop, published by Bedford Communications, looks to be Mobile PC's closest competitor.

For the first six months of the year, the publishing industry watched technology category ad pages drop 2.1%, on top of two years of severe declines. But there is evidence the category is set for a rebound next year. (See story, above.)

One media buyer, said he was "a little skeptical" that the title would find a place in the market. "There's coverage in the market already" among broader tech titles, said Al Samuelian, VP-associate media director at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, who used to buy ads for Lotus and NEC Technologies. "To have another standalone book updating what's the latest on wireless seems a little ambitious to me."

Gary Mirkin, Mobile PC's associate publisher and a veteran of Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing's Fast Company, said Future had not yet finalized what ad-page rates would be.

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