Is it time for the Apple i-pod to move over and make room for the latest converged mobile devices?

by Glenn Letham

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The numbers may be compelling but isn't it a bit hard to believe that camera phones have not impacted the sales of digital cameras? I'm not sure about the respondents of this particular survey but I know that I would likely be a bit reluctant to purchase a digital camera after I had recently shelled out some $300 for a spanky new cell phone equipped with a 2 mega pixel camera!

So what about music? Granted, a typical mega-pixel camera phone cannot hold a candle to a 6 mega pixel digital camera, however, can the same rules apply to the mobile music industry? Digital images are much easier to qualify and critique... simply hit the print button and compare your pictures and the answer will be obvious. But what about the quality of music? Granted, the i-pod has fantastic sound, however, once devices like the new Nokia N91 (aka. Mobile Jukebox) start shipping I would have to think that the typical consumer may rethink her logic and purchasing decisions. This "first generation" music focused smart phone will sport enough memory to accommodate some 3,000 digital soundtracks.... oh, did I mention that the N91 is also equipped with a 2 mega pixel camera as well! Savvy users will also likely be interested in the complementary Nokia Music Stand which enables users to listen to a mobile's FM Radio or MP3s through high-quality speakers.. ideally suited for home or office use.

I recently had a discussion with Lee Epting, VP of Forum Nokia. Lee shared her admiration for he i-pod, however, as she discussed the benefits of a converged device like the N91 it became clear that this device will in fact have an impact. Is Apple shaking in their boots? Likely no, however, I guarantee they will take notice.

To realize the full impact that the N-91 will have you need to look at the whole package. N-91 is based on Series 60 3rd edition.. the N-Series lineup will be some of the first Nokia devices to ship to the consumer that will the latest OS. Factor in Preminet (See recall Preminet was announced in October 2004. When devices like the N-91 ship bundled with the Preminet catalog users will have immediate access to a purchasing client putting application, games, music, etc... at the fingertips of users... lets see the i-pod do that! Note, Epting tells us that the N70 will be the first device to ship with the Preminet Catalog... what's exciting to her is that "it's putting it all together in one package." The latest Nokia devices to ship (like the 6680) come with a catalog that features access to content from Handango and Jamba.

Recall the Preminet catalog enables carriers to provide a custom e-commerce experience. When a user powers up his new device the catalog will be populated with content as determined by the carrier. This will provide the user with content that has been selected specially for his geographic region, supporting his particular device and most important, accessible via OTA download. In a somewhat related move, it's of interest that Ericsson has recently inked a deal with Music sharing giant Napster. According to The Register, the new service will carry the Napster brand and essentially amounts to an upgrade to Ericsson's existing music service.

Clearly, the mobile industry is chasing the music market and the rewards are potentially huge!

So what's your take? Will you trade your i-pod in for a Nokia N91 or similar device? Give me just one device instead of 3 any day!


2005-06-27 17:03:33
N91 = iPod + Slick cell?
I thought I saw the N91 costing $900. With this price point, I can see only one advantage. You need carry only one music/hard drive/cell phone device. But I see several downsides. I cant lend this to another person. If I drop this and it klonks, that's it, BOTH gadgets are gone. if I lose it? Same thing. And the battery? And if the technology for cell moves at a different "rate" than music device? Do I have to discard and buy another one?

I think there will ALWAYS be some people who will find a converged device at double the price point useful but as a mas product? I doubt it. Just my 2 farthings worth. Cheers

2006-01-17 23:26:26
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