Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Convergence of mobile phones and MP3 players

Here's an interesting article from Wired on mobile phone and MP3 player convergence.

5 Ways the Cellphone Will Change How You Listen to Music

Why carry two devices when you can carry just one? Just as heterogeneous component hifi stereos in the '70s gave way to same-OEM systems (as OEMs integrated the benefits of competitive manufacturer's expertise into their own systems), ubiquitous electronic devices will converge into one (camera, MP3 player, telephone, datebook, messenger, etc.)

We are moving away from an era where one company's MP3 player was obviously better than a phone company's MP3 player, and a phone company's phone was much better than an MP3 player company's phone. With the introduction of the iPhone and market penetration of other smart phones, the quality of all on-board features is improving to the point where it's redundant to carry separate devices for separate purposes.

Non-DRM music can also be mixed and matched from any music service to any phone, though even that functional separation will be a niche market. Integrated verticals like iTunes Music will continue to dominate the iPhone platform, and would dominate other mobile platforms if Apple were willing to support them. The difficulty here will be building a non-Apple brand with enough penetration that you're likely to have a friend who can show you how her service works. Without friend-to-friend training, any other service will fail.

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