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April 25, 2005

Will Music Enabled Cell Phones Replace MP3 Players?

TechnologyReview: Here's a great argument regarding the iPod's future longevity and staying power. I completely agree with Hellweg's assertion that "When it comes to cell phones, people are willing to trade quality for convenience, a truism that maps to music just as well as it does photos." Case in point - the number one camera vendor in 2004 was Nokia, even though most people complain about the quality of cell phone photos...The bottom line is that there is a consumer threshold for cost vs. quality from the consumer's perspective and the trick will be to find out exactly where that is and then to hit a home run with it... "Until the existing cellular networks in the United States get faster, people won't want to download music files on balky cellular networks -- especially not if they're billed by the minute." True, true, but on the other hand in regards to music enabled phones becoming more ubiquitous, the iPod could possibly be pushed aside by cell phones that double as music players if they eventually allow consumers to load songs directly from their computers straight into the phone - bypassing the need to download the songs again over the air (OTA) or for pay airtime...Personally, my biggest complaint with the whole portability issue (whether it's a phone or MP3 player) and having instant access to our collections is music playback - In the course of a regular day, I spend enough time on the phone, so I don't like being forced to wear headphones to hear my music.....Also, listening to my iPod via an FM transmitter in my car doesn't sound that great either.  Maybe someday, I'll actually get excited when I can listen to and share my favorite songs with a friend on a roadtrip with digital and/or wireless connectivity (without having to buy a BMW or Mercedes!)

--iPod vs. Cell Phones, Part Two

Posted by Todd in Mobile Music | Permalink


Very good point,

Looking from the consumer's point of view (which by companies usualy is done second place), why do we always think from the cell Phone's point of view and not the digital camera's or mp3player's point of view. Their technologie has much more quality sesetive and has much more to offer then the other way arround.


Posted by: Boet Westerburgen | Apr 25, 2005 9:25:59 AM

It seems like the mobile carriers aren't all that interested in music features for their phones that aren't using network time, with the meter running. Yet any viable portable music device has to have the ability to load music directly into it. Otherwise, it's simply too limited and too costly.

The Technology Review piece says, "It's clear that vendors such as Motorola are aiming to please the consumer, not the carrier. Motorola's iTunes-enabled phone will allow consumers to load songs directly from their computers, bypassing the need to download the songs again."

Yet, a 3/24 Business Week article asserts that "Verizon, Cingular, and other wireless operators want customers to pay to put music on phones. They think getting a full song should be like getting a ring tone, snippets for which customers now pay from 99ยข to $3. The carriers have no interest in conceding the booming digital-music market to the tech players."

I don't see cell phones being a threat to the iPod anytime soon.

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