Smartphones with built in MP3 playback features are going to kill IPod or so contends Reuters.
The introduction of Samsung’s (000830.KS: Quote, Profile, Research) new SPH-V5400 handset last month is considered one of the most interesting developments in the MP3 market as it is the first mobile phone with a built-in hard drive. Some analysts believe the mobile phone with hard disc capacity could revolutionize the MP3 player market just as the camera phone did for the photography world. “There’s no reason to think we won’t have a five-gigabyte hard drive on the market next year,” said Hubert Gertis, a technology analyst for Berlin-based consultancy Gertis Media.
How about power consumption? I just don’t buy “phone as an IPod Killer” argument. Sure on some occasions, I use Treo 600, or a borrowed Pocket PC phone as a Mp3 player, but the sound quality doesn’t match; the user interface sucks and oh did I mention, the sound quality sucks. IPod is a music player and music player only. Phone makers are turning these handsets into swiss army knives, but are not focusing on making them easy to use, or improve the interfaces. Sure you can turn it into a PDA and an MP3 player, but then a $50,000 GMS truck with DVD player and all the other crap is still a truck.
Troy worries about IPod’s future and thinks that Steve Jobs should greenlight a cell phone. I am not sure if Jobs would ever do that, but I for one would buy such a device. I believe embedding ITunes into phones is a better way to go for the company, for it would be yet another extension for Apple’s music store, and of course it would inspire people to get IPod to really enjoy the music.
What I still think Jobs can do is make IPod more wireless enabled and part of a “wireless bubble” that we carry around with us all the time. I think the 5G and 6G of IPods would have more value added, but without taking away much from the original simplistic design. As for 40GB hard drives on the phone, well it is still about 5-to-10 years in the future, prices are still an X-factor and the battery power is a huge issue. Oh by the way did I mention, the phones still need to get used to being better phones.