You may or may not remember that ESPN launched a mobile phone in 2006 – not an app, an actual mobile phone. ESPN Mobile was a huge endeavor for ESPN but quickly became a commercial failure. Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously — and crassly — panned the idea. It turns out a hyper-focus on sports wasn’t enough to hook customers into buying the phone. And ESPN also knew nothing about mobile hardware – the phone itself was chunky even by 2006 standards. But the software breakthroughs the phone made on features like score alerts and video highlights put ESPN in the driver’s seat for modern mobile apps. Aaron Gordon penned the fun story for Vice Sports.
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