Monday, 02 June 2008

(Column) - The cell phone that you’re carrying around in your pocket right now is more than likely much different than the brick of a thing that you carried around several years ago. When mobile phones first came out, people were so excited by the technology that they didn’t mind lugging a big black box with them everywhere they went. As technology improves, though, our standards change, and so do our expectations. A black and white screen? Give me a break - that’s so six months ago. Nowadays, the emphasis is on an abundance of features and a small size. If that cell phone doesn’t fry bacon, then I don’t want it. By the way, word on the street is that the new offering from Nokia will feature a vacuum cleaner...

In the mobile space, Apple has dominated the music market with the iPod, and there’s really been no real threat to its supreme reign since it was first introduced. That’s quite a record to have, don’t you think? I’m sure some of the executives at Apple laughed out loud when the first somewhat respectable music player found its way onto a cell phone. Was anyone actually going to want to listen to music in between calls? It’s no secret that these phones don’t have a lot of storage space available right out of the box, so would people sacrifice capacity for convenience? As it turns out, the answer is yes and no.

Convergence is a huge thing right now, and there’s this ongoing hope for the device to end all devices. Some consumers are more interested in having one product that does several things relatively well instead of having to purchase and use a number of devices that do these things fantastically on their own. Therefore, if a purchased phone contains a music player, people aren’t going to complain. Just because they didn’t buy it for that reason, it is a nice added bonus. Just like the iPod, you plug in your headphones and jam out - that core experience is the same. Unlike the iPod, however, there is a speaker, and as cruddy as it may be, at least you can listen to your music on the go without headphones. Not everyone is sold to the point of leaving their iPod at home, but some consumers are beginning to do just that.

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