Wired News: Cell Phones Face the Music
. The article talks about Napster's recently revealed plan to extend its music service to mobile phones and it's potential to 'threaten' the iPod (+ clones). Good ol' Napster huh, still out there, still hanging on trying to make it's way in the world.
Susan Kevorkian, an analyst with IDC, said there are some consumers who want to load their phones up with features like music, games and video, but plenty of others still prefer devices like the iPod that do one thing, and do it well.
"We think there's going to be a very large middle area where people will use both types of devices," she said.
I think she's very correct in saying this. Convergence is all fine and well, but there are some people who just don't care. Your phone is for making calls, your computer is for making emails, and your TV is for watching movies. For me, there was a time when playing Doom on my iPaq while waiting for the tube was a pretty cool thing to do (and even more so considering I owned one of the first ever iPaqs released, so everything had a slight wow factor to it) which managed to distract me from the pointlessness of it. Now, I'm more about functionality. Things that I actually use day to day rather than once a month as a conversation starter with novelty value. Things that save me pocket space, and things which make my life easier.
Phones with MP3 players will appeal to this market quite well. Why carry 2 devices when you can carry one? As always, usability and practicality is going to be the key. Nokia have had MP3 capable phones available for quite sometime now, and they've all been killed by a couple of things.
First, is the memory factor. It's hard to get decent storage in these devices without spending a lot of money. This is less true now, but to some extent price at the moment depends on which memory card format(s) your phone supports. (There is a Nokia model in the not too distant future which boasts a decent amount of onboard storage but the exact model number escapes me at the moment)
Second for Nokia, is their stupid pop port adapter. 3.5mm stereo has been around for quite sometime - WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO INVENT A NEW STANDARD? Yes I realise some of it is for car kits / hands free kits etc, but they're going to need to sort this if they want to give these devices mass appeal. The avid music fan who already owns some $300 Sennhieser headphones isn't going to be too keen to pay more money to Nokia in order to get a $5 pair of headphones which are physically attached to a Nokia pop port accessory.
Anyhow, good luck Napster.