Newspapers are folding, magazines are fading, ad pages are down and angst is up in the serial publishing business as it struggles through a global technological transition and may not survive.  But what will be our next New York Times, our new Field & Stream, our improved Playboy?  That’s what the big guns of publishing are fighting about with their Kindles and iPads.  But I think they may have it all wrong and my friend Anina, the fashion model/girl geek may have it all right.

Anina has reinvented the magazine for your mobile phone.

Isn’t that what Apple is doing with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch?

Not even close.

Anina, whom you may remember from her 2006 interview on NerdTV, has come up with a clever way to put magazines in your existing mobile phone. Her Mobile Magazines can be read on 2000 different mobile phone models.  If it has a color screen, your phone — however cheap it was to buy — can be an eReader.

Selling into an existing hardware base gives Mobile Magazines a huge advantage over fancy competitors like Apple or an Amazon.  Those companies have to first get people to buy their new hardware platform for hundreds of dollars before they can even hope to sell content for that platform, while Anina is sending content — color magazines with multiple pages, embedded links, and even e-commerce built-in — to the phone you already own.  And it doesn’t even have to be a smart phone, which is good, because 94 percent of mobile phones in use aren’t smart phones.

Mobile Magazines are the 94 percent solution, ready to go and ready to scale right now.

Apple, Amazon and Sony are playing catch-up to Anina but don’t yet know it.

If your web site or blog has an RSS feed, you can use it to automagically make a Mobile Magazine.  I made one for this blog in less than 10 minutes and it will keep publishing for free until I turn it off.  Adding more pages and active links costs some money but not much.  You can read my magazine on most any phone that can receive (not even send) SMS text messages.

You can read a Mobile Magazine where you don’t even have mobile phone service, like in a tunnel or on a plane!

If you have an iPhone  you can mount your magazine right on the desktop with your other apps, completely bypassing both iTunes and the App Store.

Use your phone to read the Mobile Magazine version of this column:

Or (again with your mobile) just click here:

Add I_Cringely MobileMag widget

Picky readers will say, “The screen is tiny, the content is hobbled, there is nothing to be excited about here.” But remember this same content can be read today on two billion devices throughout the world.

There will never, ever be two billion iPhones.