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Mobile Phone - Convergence Point For iPod, Others? 301

Posted by simoniker
from the famed-all-in-one dept.
Nagen writes "DrunkenBlog has an intriguing essay arguing that the mobile phone is the primary convergence point for digital devices and will soon cause iPod sales to evaporate. Perhaps more interesting is the idea that the iPod is an expendable pawn in a larger battle of who will control the gateway of all legal content to the user."
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Mobile Phone - Convergence Point For iPod, Others?

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  • Yes, but (Score:3, Funny)

    by ODD97 (645414) on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:29PM (#9864956) Homepage
    Will it run Linux?

    (not even completey off-topic! yay!)
  • iPod haters (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wickersty (800729) on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:29PM (#9864961)
    There's so many articles constantly appearing about how this will kill the ipod, this will be better than the ipod, this will put the ipod out of business... so many people targeting the little white bundle of joy, and so many people falling way, way, short. Kind of sad. Oh, yea - and first.
    • Re:iPod haters (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ackthpt (218170) * on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:33PM (#9865005) Homepage Journal
      here's so many articles constantly appearing about how this will kill the ipod, this will be better than the ipod, this will put the ipod out of business... so many people targeting the little white bundle of joy, and so many people falling way, way, short. Kind of sad.

      Battery manufacturers rejoice!

      "I'm sorry I missed your call, I either have my phone off or the battery has run down from picturetaking, musiclistening, notetaking, gameplaing und blinkenledwatchen. Please leave a message..."

      Worst thing that can and will happen in the future to ruin your life? You lose your phone and if you had a password it was 1-2-3.

      • by dmitrygr (736758) <dmitrygr@gmail.com> on Monday August 02, 2004 @06:10PM (#9865203) Homepage
        would you please refrain from giving away my root password?
      • Re:iPod haters (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rew190 (138940) on Monday August 02, 2004 @06:43PM (#9865423)
        Apparently, noone else gives a shit about the battery life as much as Slashdotters do. I've got one and have a bunch of friends who own them. Any battery issues seem to be transparent for all of us and indeed all other happy iPod owners I know because we rarely sit and listen to our iPods for FOUR HOURS STRAIGHT before recharging. (PS: Ya know you can recharge the iPod WHILE YOU SLEEP?)

        I always laugh when this comes up... a longer battery would be nice, but some folks complain about it on here as if Apple should be ashamed that their middle-aged nerd travelling customers (the same ones who predicted the iPod would be a POS noone would buy) don't think the battery life is adequate.

        The funny thing is they don't realize they're not the market, even given all of the obvious evidence. And this is what is funny and makes me roll my eyes at every "OMG BATTERY LIFE" post. Longer battery life would be nice, but it's not the ridiculous issue detractors make it out to be.
        • I believe you missed the point. He wasn't talking about the battery life of the iPod; who cares if you can't listen to your music, oh noes. If you read the post above yours, it talks about future devices being overloaded with features so that important ones (like your contact list) are sacrificed for less important ones, such as a built-in 3d accelerator. No need to have such a reactionary response to defend your precious iPod.
      • picturetaking, musiclistening, notetaking, gameplaing und blinkenledwatchen.

        Actually in German, all five of those words would be combined into one compound.
    • Re:iPod haters (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kobayashi Maru (721006) on Monday August 02, 2004 @06:45PM (#9865440)
      Indeed. The iPod is so well liked because it actually works. It amazes me that so many billion-dollar companies think they can throw an MP3 player on their devices and the user will come a-flockin'. It amazes me that, after the iPod has dominated for as long as it has, none of the companies have picked on the fact that maybe, just maybe, users would like to be able to use their devices without taking instructional classes. It amazes me that all these companies are so focued on their plans for market domination that they completely neglect the users. Ahh well, all the better for Apple I suppose.
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:29PM (#9864962) Homepage Journal
    As everything in the world becomes integrated into a cell phone, it'll approach a critical software mass and collapse in upon itself, forming a sort of firmware black hole.

    Solution: Buy the next model.

  • by Moofie (22272) <lee&ringofsaturn,com> on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:29PM (#9864963) Homepage
    I will never, ever, ever let the phone company come between me and my music collection. They'll decide they want to bill me for every minute I spend listening to stuff I've got stored on my hardware.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Are you from the USA? Because I've only ever seen this kind of mistrust of phone companies from people from the USA. Plus you state in another post in this thread that unless they provide you with service, your phone is a paperweight.

      Over here in the UK, phone companies aren't regarded as bastions of decency, but they aren't mistrusted like they are over in the USA, and you can switch to other phone companies as long as you actually bought your phone and weren't provided with it free for signing up with
      • I think it's a very pertinent question, as the USA seems to be trailing other countries like the UK when it comes to mobile phone coverage, usage, and general technological trends, so if mobile phones supplant iPod usage over here, you'll probably see it over there in a year or two.

        Not to burst your bubble but have you compared the square miles of The United States of America to that of the UK?

        I really feel sad for all of you that live in the UK if it is common that your cellphones are becoming phys

        • by grrrl (110084) on Monday August 02, 2004 @09:54PM (#9866272)
          Not to burst your bubble but have you compared the square miles of The United States of America to that of the UK?

          have you compared the US to australia? we have very good coverage in all major cities and extended cdma coverage in the bush - ok so it doesnt cover the whole continent but people dont live over the whole continent like they do in the us (in the us protion of nth america). with the # of people in the US it *does* seem backward that better services arent in place.

          Pods are popular but guess what? Most people over 50 don't own them and would never purchase one-the same folks that comprise 2/3rds of the GDP and don't want to be on the Internet.

          do you have any basis for this argument? I know a *lot* of over 50s who are on the internet, and quite a few who have ipods! my dad spends hours ripping his cds in itunes to build up his music library

          but unless Telcos are challenged with losing customer bases at alarming rates to outside competitors they don't move to improve services for customers. It just doesn't make sense to them to give new services if customers aren't canceling accounts.

          now this i agree with - here in little old oz we have the major player telstra, and their mobile (and home!) plans get worse and worse, but people keep coming back and signing up new plans to get the phones, while dropping the features (like offpeak rates, per second billing, free chat, reduced sms etc)
          some of the other mobile providers have better services but crap coverage and delays between carriers (nothing like getting sms's 3 days late!) - so the migration is slow

          coming back to the mobile phone feature issue though, i think people *will* buy mobile phones with more features, but only because they get them for free with a new plan when their "old" (usually i think phones with flash cards are the way to go, but they will never surpass the ipod because they will never do *everything* well - like pictures for example - who cares??? i have a few photos of friends so their faces come up when it rings but its so low quality its just a gimik. i will never want to look at photos on my phone, and the interface will never be as good as the ipod for music (the more i use my new nokia the more i wish i could get rid of half the menu options!)

    • by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Monday August 02, 2004 @06:33PM (#9865372) Homepage
      "They'll decide they want to bill me for every minute I spend listening to stuff I've got stored on my hardware."

      Thats a bit extreme, but what they'll almost certainly try to do is charge you to download the song to your phone through them. Which is why if I ever (god forbid) buy a cell phone with a decent music player in it, I will REQUIRE that I be able to upload my own content to it with no extra cost (aside from perhaps an extra cable, although it should be firewire) and no control over the content given to the phone companies.

      And if I ever pay for a downloaded song, I DEMAND that I be able to transfer it off the phone to my computer and other listening devices as well, with no degredation in quality from what I originally received, and with no restrictions on how I can use it (or at least extremely easy to circumvent ones ALA Fairplay).

  • by proj_2501 (78149) <mkb@ele.uri.edu> on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:30PM (#9864971) Journal
    Everyone's a pawn in this game to the rechargeable battery industry. The glut of portable devices will flood their coffers with money to take over the world!
  • by Audent (35893) <audent&ilovebiscuits,com> on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:33PM (#9864999) Homepage
    I always believed convergence would kick in around cellphones with MP3 players built in but having played with a mini iPod all week I've discovered that I can drain the juice out of that puppy faster than just about any other device I have. I play it on the bus, walking to the office, in the office, at lunch and on the way home again.. the cellphone battery wouldn't cope with that kind of demand so I'd end up carrying the power cord with me all the time.
    • I play it on the bus, walking to the office, in the office, at lunch and on the way home again.

      The great thing about birds is that they don't take batteries and come in all sorts of pretty colors.

      KFG
    • In many cases you can get dramatically more battery for your phone. Mine is admittedly a no-frills type but I can get a battery with four times the capacity which is no larger than the original. However, I don't really need my phone to run for a week on one charge so I never bothered to buy the thing. It's worth looking into in any case, if you are having battery problems.
    • Here in south korea, they have mobile phone recharge docks in many establishments around the city. The machines have multiple dongles and most phones have 3 contact points on the batteries case that the machines can be adjusted to fit if the dongles aren't compatible. (I believe some level of standardization will be important) Anyway with this in mind, you can go to your local cafe, enjoy a cup of coffee / starcraft and get ur battery charged and reconditioned at the same time. I think with complete converg
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Yeah yeah none of us care about phones in Asia. (if we did we'd be too jealous) Why last time I took a trip to Tokyo, NTT DoCoMo was promoting a new phone with cell and satellite modes so you get reception from anywhere on Earth, a full color 1024x768 screen, 8 megapixel video camera with 2 gigs of memory, full suite of pda functions, voice recognition, built in laser, a grappling hook, and a bonus pair of used schoolgirl's panties. We Americans will do just fine with our 1995-era cell phone technology, tha
  • by wickersty (800729) on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:33PM (#9865002)
    When will companies realize that the whole cell phone convergence thing isn't all that its craqcked out to be. Every attempting at converging a cell phone with another device has been embarrassing. Even camera phones. Face it - the cameras suck and the're next to no use for having a $hitty camera in your phone. Get a digital camera. They're probably smaller and much better. And I dont WANT my phone to be an MP3 player. I want my phone to be a phone. Arrgh!
    • For power users total convergence is probably never going to happen. You're not a ./er unless you have at least 4 networked machines with at least 3 different OSes :)

      But for the average user, the cell phone could become their primary "communications" computer. You wouldn't write any major documents on that (that's what the "big iron" in your office is for), but it could provide other services that we have traditionally done on PCs that are "good enough". Email, IM, calendars, address books, media apps a

    • I don't think cameras on phones are an embarassment. Of course, most of them aren't that good, but many people wouldn't have bought a digital camera, anyway, and they certainly wouldn't carry it around all the time. I've seen many people using the camera on their phone, mainly young people when they take pictures just for fun.
      I find the combination of phone and music player very convenient (I use a Treo 600). I think it's quite awkward when these two devices are separate. If you listen to music and someone
  • It's true for me (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cee (22717) on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:34PM (#9865009)
    For quite a while I have been looking for a portable mp3 player, preferably with flash memory. Anyway, there was this deal that I would get a 3G phone almost for free (in exchange for signing up for a 12 month subscription) and that phone had a mp3 player builtin aswell. So what would then be the point of getting another mp3 player? I prefer carrying around as little gadgets as possible... Sure, the memory is only 128 MB, but it's alright with me, I can always sync it with my computer to get new music.
    • by Rew190 (138940) on Monday August 02, 2004 @06:25PM (#9865323)
      The difference is 20 gb and the ability to store a whole shitload of albums on a small device designed explicitly for ease of use and functionality in that regard.

      You're not really in the market Apple is going after, and neither will these phones until they can hold the massive amounts of tunes that the iPod can with a comparable interface. I think it'll be a little while before we see 20 gb phones. In the meantime the iPod will continue to sell because it excels at one thing.

      I remember reading a similar article about camera phones hurting real digital camera sales.
      • by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday August 02, 2004 @07:12PM (#9865592)
        I don't see mini hard drives being integrated in cell phones, but it's only a matter of time till flash memory gets cheap enough for cell phones and similar devices become an alternative at least to the iPod mini class of devices. Personally, I don't need 20 GB of music on the go, 1 or 2 GB would be more than sufficient - currently, I make do with multiple 250 MB mini CDs. 2 GB flash memory modules already exist, but for now they're prohibitively expensive.

        And of course, the next generation of static RAM is just around the corner - where it has been for a while, admittedly.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I am intrigued by the fact that the last three stories contained the words "intriguing" and "intrigued".

    Did they release a new intriguing style guideline today?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:35PM (#9865022)
    In most of Europe and Asia, most mobile phone owners carry it with them 90%+ of the time, and the market penetration is very high (especially amongst younger people). Therefore it makes sense that it will be the primary convergence point. Also, in Europe (dunno about Asia) the receiver never pays, so people leave the phones on all the time. I understand the situation is a little different in the US (incompatible networks, non-contingent cover) and market penetration and usage is a bit lower. Heck, judging by the stories here it seems the iPod is more popular in the US than the mobile phone!
    • by Kphrak (230261) on Monday August 02, 2004 @06:17PM (#9865265) Homepage

      Heck, judging by the stories here it seems the iPod is more popular in the US than the mobile phone!

      That's because you're on Slashdot, where people love Apple devices and often hate the yammering that comes with cell phones, not to mention their "yuppie" associations. If judging only by stories and comments here, an observer would be unable to understand why "American Idol" or "The Bachelor" is on prime time TV when everyone seems to love $CANCELLED_NERDY_SCI_FI_SHOW.

      Mobile phone use is about the same in America as it is in Europe. The difference is mostly that people in Europe (I've heard) and in Asia (I've seen firsthand) often use their phones primarily for text messaging. Here in the US, most don't. I'm not sure why, my guess is that we're just too lazy to learn how to type on the telephone pad. :)

      Mobile phone market penetration is high in the US, but the "gee-whiz" factor has definitely worn off among all but the hardcore. Most people are more interested what kind of a deal they can get on the minutes they use than whether their phone can play MP3s.

      • Mobile phone use is about the same in America as it is in Europe. The difference is mostly that people in Europe (I've heard) and in Asia (I've seen firsthand) often use their phones primarily for text messaging. Here in the US, most don't. I'm not sure why, my guess is that we're just too lazy to learn how to type on the telephone pad. :)

        Could be Americans prefer the social aspect of speaking to the person they need to send the message too? Realize that they can get their communications done faster and m

      • Personally I dont txt people at all because my plan doesnt include it and my provider charges out the ass for txts i send as things are or if i went over my allottment.

        Most people likely dont see the need for having it. The only person i know who regularly text messaged me was doing it from the back of her classroom, and I supsect that's the major use in the US.
      • I'm not sure why, my guess is that we're just too lazy to learn how to type on the telephone pad.

        SMSin g while driving is 1000x more dangerous than just talking, so be glad that's all we have to deal with.
      • Mobile phone use is about the same in America as it is in Europe.

        I don't know if there are statistics about actual mobile phone use (many people in Europa carry their mobile phone around, but don't telephone very often), but there is a big difference in market penetration. 2002 data about mobile phone penetration from http://www.morganstanley.com/institutional/techre s earch/pdfs/2003TMT.pdf [morganstanley.com]
        Sweden 89%, Finland 86%, Italy, Portugal and Hong Kong 85%, Spain, Ireland and Czech Republic 84%, Austria and U
    • In most of Europe and Asia

      Which reminds me that in parts of Asia, the mobile phone market is somewhat saturated and there is very little room for growth. Then what is the point of convergence? If phones overtook iPods as MP3 player of choice, it wouldn't have made the phone companies too much more money because of the limited growth of the market but it would have killed Apple's device, which did make money. I think an earlier poster's comparison between the mobile phone and a black hole is very valid. (
    • In most of Europe and Asia, most mobile phone owners carry it with them 90%+ of the time, and the market penetration is very high (especially amongst younger people). Therefore it makes sense that it will be the primary convergence point. Also, in Europe (dunno about Asia) the receiver never pays, so people leave the phones on all the time. I understand the situation is a little different in the US (incompatible networks, non-contingent cover) and market penetration and usage is a bit lower.

      The receiver n
  • by hostyle (773991)

    Do not give me "Buffering ... " messages on my phone ... people will be killed

  • Apple/Motorola Deal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cobblepop (738291) on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:36PM (#9865034)
    Jobs' move of integrating Motorola phones with iTunes was a brilliant move IMO - he sees where it's headed and wants to become a player. And through this deal will probably do so months and months before anyone else rolls out something truly consumer-friendly.

    As soon as phones start getting 1GB drives in 'em, I'll be carrying my iPod with me a lot less often. (And I'll get a lot angrier when I drop my phone, too!)

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/ mc /20040727/tc_mc/applemotorolatobringitunestocellph ones
    • Exactly right. The flaw with this proclamation, and every other iPod obituary today, is that it assumes Apple will stay still, which they have not been known to do, at least since the return of Jobs.

      It'll be a long time before cell phones rival the iPod of today, and by that time, the iPod will have gone through several more iterations and improvement cycles. Eventually, the iPod may very well converge with the cellphone, but that converged device is likely to carry an Apple logo, whether its on the case

  • All roads will roam. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:39PM (#9865058) Homepage Journal
    There will be many gates to the consumer in the converged future. Mobile "phones" will be more like "remote controls" than TVs, the GUI for navigating all the ubiquitous networked devices surrounding us. Home theaters, public ticket kiosks, parking meters and lots, tolls, stores, friends' homes, car alarms, forwardable office desks, all kinds of embedded devices will have their own displays and unique controls. The key to them all will be a mobile "phone", but all of those devices will be gateways to the consumer. And multiple, cryptolocked, synced/replicated phones will be available to each user, if they want them. Much like much of modern civilization requires a car and a bank card for access, but many venues and competing suppliers.
  • by Blacklantern (658383) on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:39PM (#9865063)
    Most people I know use a phone to just make phone calls. Sure they like their cool ring tones and all but, music and phone calls are still seperate activities for the average VP-on-the-move. Most Schmoes wouldn't use an IPOD anyway. Believe it or not most people still ask me, "Whats that?" whenever they see mine:

    Them: Whats that?!
    me: and Ipod
    them: oh, one of those music thingies?
    me: yea

    I just don't see this type of person wanting to talk to Autie Jolie while listening to Disturbed at the same time. I think someone had it right when they explained that most people with cool phones got them at a discount or for free with their phone plan. I definately don't see IPod sales drying up anytime soon. I NEED my cell phone to be a cell phone. I don't want to stop my playlist so I can pick up a call!
    • I NEED my cell phone to be a cell phone. I don't want to stop my playlist so I can pick up a call!

      What? First of all, a cellphone that plays mp3s would automagically pause your mp3 when you pick up a call. Secondly, why wouldn't you want this to happen? Are you one of those jerks who leaves the radio blaring when you answer the phone?
  • Business Cycle (Score:3, Interesting)

    by usefool (798755) on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:45PM (#9865093) Homepage
    Like everything else, mobile phone started as a mobile phone, then one manufacturer made one smaller, so others followed and made their even smaller. Then another manufacturer added a camera, sure enough others had to stay competitive and added higher pixel camera, then the calendar, notes, voice recorder, maybe a PDA, bluetooh, WiFi etc.

    All these are caused by the pressure to stay competitive, and more often than not, the pressure is from consumers (indirectly). If you are deciding on two phones, one with a camera and another without, all at the same price same other specs, you have to choose the one with a camera simply because it has more features.

    I for one am totally against attaching non-related feature to a device, so until now I am still using my 4-year-old phone.

    As consumers we really need to boycoutt these products to make them go away.

    Ohh.. If one manufacturer removes one feature from a mobile phone and still manages to maintain sales, guess what? The reverse cycle might just begin and every manufacture will start stripping features to cut cost and stay competitive.
  • by dhovis (303725) on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:51PM (#9865117)

    OK, I haven't RTFA, but anybody who thinks that the iPod will forever be a high profit margin device for Apple is insane. Sooner or later the iPod will either have to evolve into more than an MP3 player that does a few neat tricks, or Apple will have to find another revenue source.

    What other revenue source? Well, how about the iTMS? The numbers I've heard suggest that Apple could make a profit (after paying the labels, credit card fees, bandwidth, etc) of 10c/track. They sold around 100million tracks in a little over a year, which might translate into $10M profit. Not a whole lot, Apple certainly makes more money off iPods now. But if you look to the future, the iPod functionality is likely to get integrated into cell phones. iPod profit margins will go down. However, by the time that becomes a reality (5 years, maybe), I would expect Apple to be selling between $1billion and $10billion in iTMS sales annually, with an annual profit of $100million to $1billion. Given that Apple has made a profit of ~$30million in the past year, that is an attractive source of revenue. Low margin, sure, but steady....and such low margins make it difficult for any competitor to gain a foothold. I think Apple was very savvy in negotiating such low margins.

  • how will I know I have a phone call if I'm too busy listening to my music and playing games with it?
  • This is stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geek (5680) on Monday August 02, 2004 @06:06PM (#9865181)
    Firstly, my iPod is one of the staples of my existence right now. I taking it running, biking, in the car, on trips. I love it.

    Second, I fucking HATE cell phones. I hate people that sit and talk on their phones at the gym while peddling away at 1 mph on the excersice bike like some pee in the cedar chips hamster thinking they are actually "getting a workout" all the while fucking up everyone elses concentration with their senseless chatter.

    I had a cell phone for years, my bosses used to love abusing it, calling to find out where this or that was rather than just getting off their fat asses and looking for it themselves. I didn't use the stupid thing for half the things I thought I would. It's an impersonal and fake way of having relations with people. Just get together and have fun, don't sit and gossip like a giggly little girl on it.

    My iPod makes me wanna get out and DO something, like ride through the county park down the street or go to the gym and bust my ass on a 4 mile run.

    I'm obviously biased but I hate the cell phone lifestyle. It's fake, lazy and pointless. I see people crashing cars on their phones, ruining movies not paying attention while walking into me at the grocery store. I see people in lines chatting away on the phone and all the people around them giving them glares like they're irritating everyone around them. Like so many fads before, these little gadgets have turned the zombified idiots of our culture into the lemmings we all knew they could be.

    The last thing I want is "convergence". I like being able to buy an iPod and JUST have it be an iPod. If I wanted a cell phone I would JUST want a cell phone. If I wanted a camera I would JUST buy a camera. Cell phones right now are nothing but bloated feature nightmares, most of which people do not use or care about. I don't need an mp3 player that comes with a 50$ a month cellphone bill plus text messaging at 15 cents a message.
    • Re:This is stupid (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Gee, Mr. Thoreau -- in the course of your ranting against the artificial and unnatural, have you ever considered doing your running outside?
    • Re:This is stupid (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      all the while fucking up everyone elses concentration with their senseless chatter.

      So if you lose your place on the treadmill do you have to start over from the beginning?

      I had a cell phone for years, my bosses used to love abusing it, calling to find out where this or that was rather than just getting off their fat asses and looking for it themselves.

      You know it doesn't answer if you don't hit the green button, right? You're responsible for whether or not someone gets ahold of you on your mobile pho
    • by lidocaineus (661282) on Monday August 02, 2004 @07:51PM (#9865751)
      Jesus dude, get a grip before you turn into a complete luddite. You have a valid point, namely, that cell phones have a lot of features that are half-assed. However, no one FORCES those on you. In fact, practically every major carrier out there has their no-frills phone that is more often than not free with a contract. It makes calls. It stores numbers. It can't sync with your PIM software via bluetooth and it can barely eek out a text message. Good for you.

      But blaming cell phone usage into turning people into lazy slobs reeks of shortsightedness. Do you think when cars started becoming mainstream that people exploded into lazy blobs? Do you think people complained about the noise and the pollution? I'm sure it seemed like it at the time, especially when people took the car to go down to the store two blocks away.

      And guess what? I've seen more abuses of iPod folks than cell phone folks lately, especially in urban Chicago where I live. People are constantly standing in front of el train exits and entrances, not letting people through because they are oblivious to the crush behind them. They do not answer when you call your friend from 50 feet away. I've seen so many instances of oblivious attitudes almost leading to car accidents while pedestrians with white headphones leasurely stroll into a DON'T WALK intersection. Does this prove that iPod users are lazy idiots? Of course not. It just means that people are dumb in general, and it's amplified when many people jump on a bandwagon (ie cell phones, and iPod usage).

      And finally, while some of us don't want crappy gadgets to replace single-use, superior ones, you are NOT that majority. Plenty of people deal with crappy, inferior products when they are handy. In fact, your iPod is another example. How many people use Apple Lossless on their ipods? How many of the masses even KNOW what that is? Nope, mp3 at 128 with bad compression artificats is plenty good for them. I like convergence, except when it compromises too much... however we are clearly not the group with the most buying power.

      Basically, what you are complaining about is human nature, that is magnified by certain gadgets. If it affects you to such a degree that you are overwhelmed emotionally and mentally regarding bad cell phone etiquette, I suggest you use some of that angry energy to affect some change, not bitch mindlessly to an audience that either agrees with you or doesn't care. In other words, get over yourself dude; since your iPod make you want to do something, well... do it.
  • When a company starts to think otherwise then they're in trouble.

    If you fall in love with product X and protect it from being canabalised by other products then those products suffer. Eventually product X becomes obsolete and you end up with nothing. The Intel business model: "Be your own worst enemy" is highly effective.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Monday August 02, 2004 @06:11PM (#9865209) Homepage
    ...sure you can put all the features and electronics in one device, but certain things don't scale well.

    1) Battery ...which translates to memory size, CPU speed, in general faster == more power.
    2) Optics/Camera ...I have a camera on my phone (it had a lot of other things I wanted), and it SUCKS. In daylight you can get some half-assed thumbnails, but really...

    Basicly, the electronics can scale down to nothing at all, it is simply that the rest can't. Though I suppose the future may be more "intelligent" power management. It is a dummy phone with low low consumption when you need it (not powering up the huge MP3 collection or decoder chip) and an entertainment center (for a short while) when you need it. It's all about what you can pack into a cell phone sized object. Maybe a "dock" extension to your phone to make it iPod-like?

    Jack of all trades, master of none is not good. But I hope they can make a flexible "master of all, one at the time" pack.

    Kjella
  • But there is not a mobile phone that is going to replace a dedicated hard drive mp3 layer like the ipod. The interface, storage, and quality would all substandard. As rule of thumb, you never going to get same quality of a stand alone device when trying to create a convergence device. Even the my Ecricson phone can:
    • Browse the web
    • Take Pictures
    • e-mail
    • instant message
    • play music

    I could do all that with my phone, yet I hardly use any of those features. Instead, on my recent trip to OSCON in Portland, my la

  • I dislike the idea that mobile phones are becoming the convergence point for mobile devices. The easy examples are cameras and MP3 players being integrated. Treo and others have tried integrating PDA powers into the phone, as well.

    I wrote a journal entry [slashdot.org] about this a while back, asking for a PAN (personal area network), based on Bluetooth something else, that would allow me to have dedicated devices that all work together seamlessly (and wirelessly).

    But I think the phone as the convergence point is wrong.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I view WalMart as a good example of what "convergence" brought me - I have a place to go to purchase just about anything, as long as I don't want whatever I purchase to be above-average quality. So, you're going to take a music source, a phone and who knows what else and converge them into one device - which has to be small. Thus, worse sonics than the current mp3 players, worse battery than current phones, etc. And I want this to happen??

    When I want music, I want it of reasonable sound quality. When I
  • Real iPod Killer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tobes (302057) <tobypadilla.gmail@com> on Monday August 02, 2004 @06:17PM (#9865258) Homepage
    There is a real opportunity for the phone to become the number one portable music device, but it won't be done with downloads it will be with streaming. Imagine being able to not only listen to all of the music in your "collection" anywhere you are, but new music as well. There's going to be a lot of opportunity for people providing personalized listening experiences on the cell, and I really do think it will be a better way to listen to music than the current "unplugged" model of the ipod.

    In fact, since I've started thinking about music like this, I've pretty much taken all of the fun out of listening on my ipod. It seems boring to be stuck with the same music I have at home and not have access to new music suggestions. On my site [musicmobs.com] we've had a lot of success with helping people find new music. Once you start going down that track it's hard to stick to just your home grown library.
    • This new-fangled device will allow you to listen to new music as well as music that already exists in your library- it has advanced features as automatic shuffling, some stations even allow you to request a song...Most Radios are 100% wireless! and are great on battery consumption.
      FAN-TAS-TIC!
      • There's a big difference between on-demand music, and personalized streaming vs. "pushed" music. Most radio sucks anyway :)
      • Sorry, but all the radio stations are owned by Clear Channel, and all the music they play is total crap. The whole point of portable stored music players is to listen to what YOU want to listen to, not what the music industry wants you to listen to.
  • I had bought a cell phone, I gave it a chance... my basic plan ended up costing me over 100$ a month and I wasn't making many calls at all- service charges and other fees always put my cell phone bill over the top.
    Why do I need to pay someone else to talk to my friends, if they really need me they can plan ahead and find me... and vice versa.
    Cell-Phones are great for business people on the road and for emergencies like a flat tire- but they end up becoming annoying with people calling you with last min
    • Where the hell do you live? Are you posting this from the year 1992?

      My basic plan with Verizon costs $45/month. The fees are only a few dollars of that (much less than landline fees, which are usually more than the actual phone line charge). I don't even get close to using all 400 minutes I'm allotted, and I get free nights and weekends, so I do a lot of talking then which would normally cost me a fortune with a traditional landline. My signal quality is always excellent, unless I'm inside a tunnel or
  • by littleghoti (637230)
    Okay: full disclosure here. I like apple a lot. I'm not the only one, but others don't seem to realise that there is a market for people who want elegant devices which do what they should. The ipod plays music. It has other functions, sure, but it plays music better than anything else. You can find what you want to listen to and have it playing in 30 seconds. If you try to add other functions, it will confuse the UI and screw up the playing music thing. People want phones to ring people on. They don't want
  • Nine out of ten calls reach voice mail. Nobody actually answers the phone any more. Therefore e-mail is more efficient, because people actually REPLY to e-mail. The greatest irony woudl be if the phone becomes the "convergence" point and in the process, stops being a phone.

    Of course, that would make sense to most large businesses. Building a product and selling it is no longer a "viable business model." (Which is why businesses/jobs are so FUCKED UP right now) Companies have to build a brand and sel
  • by gberke (160126) on Monday August 02, 2004 @06:29PM (#9865343)
    1) they all suck (as phones)
    2) wi-fi uber alles.
    3) the phone companies are not going to have a product pretty soon: I'll ask google to connect me to "my friend fred in muscogie" Then it will ask, would you like to send him email, leave a voice message, IM him, or talk to him right now?
    4) THE device is the computer: everything else is a peripheral, including screen, keyboard, microphone, speakers, printer, projector, camera, video camera. What you carry around is a hard drive. Well, actually, a 30 gig memory card. You'll probably want to start with that small one.
  • I thought I'd give "good enough" a try. I wish I hadn't.

    I hate my Sony T616 phone and miss my Nokia 8260.

    SMS on the T616 is so slow and hourglass-ridden as to be almost unusable. My old Nokia 8260 was much much faster. The $80 bluetooth adapter was a waste of money. Syncing my T616 to Outlook just sucks compared to syncing my Palm to Palm Desktop. The camera in the T616 was a neat gimmick, but it's worthless. If it's worth taking a picture of and all I've got is the T616 I don't even bother taking the pic
  • Maybe RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by theolein (316044) on Monday August 02, 2004 @06:34PM (#9865378) Journal
    I am surprised that everybody and his mother read the words convergence and phone without reading to the end of the article. The guy is making less of a point that Apple wants to sell iTunes on phones than he is about Apple selling music and video over computers, phones and other nifty little gadgets such as Airport express. He is making the case for Apple controlling the DRM content through convergence of devices such as phones, Airport express and computers.

    It's a fine but important difference.
  • I don't buy it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Aqua OS X (458522) on Monday August 02, 2004 @06:58PM (#9865517)
    I don't buy this argument. As an industrial designer I've had to study "convergence" over and over again. People have been trying to combine ridiculous devices for years. When the industrial age came around people attempted to converge household and appliances with each other, various tools with other tools, etc etc. This worked as a catchy marketing tool at first; however consumers began to realize that individual specialized devices and tools tend to be a lot more functional.

    This convergence trend is starting to rear its ugly head again. Shitty phones, combined with shitty cameras, combined with shitty messaging devices. Bleh. No doubt, modern cell phones are little computers that can adapt with software. Yet, with convergence you force tools to restrict themselves to form-factor, interactive, and I/O constraints that they normally wouldn't have.

  • by gotpaint32 (728082) * on Monday August 02, 2004 @07:05PM (#9865555) Journal
    Convergence is a definite. A lot of comments I've read so far seems to miss the point of convergence. The phone is not going to put digital camera makers out of buisness, simply because of physical limitations (the optics must be larger) a phone camera will never be as good as a dedicated camera, but soon resolution will get even better than it is, and it will certainly replace the cheap point and shoot cameras (not everyone is margaret burke white nor do they need 8 megapixels). Furthermore as solid state memory advances and cheapens (we already have 1gb cf cards commerically available) there will be even more of a reason for sticking in mp3 and video playback capabilities. But until someone figures out how to cram a 15gig drive into a cell phone, the ipod will still hold its crown. As a side note. I'll never give up my standalone digital camera, or my standalone video camera, nor my ipod. But lets say you see something interesting one day and you want to take a picture or video of it, you'll probably have your cell phone; or you're waiting on a long line, you're bored so you listen to some music or play some games, once again you'll probably have your cell phone. It just makes sense. Just because many of the current implementations of convergence are crap (my sony ericson T616 for example) does not mean everything in the future will as well. Remember the PC is leading example of a convergence device (music, video, printing press, sex toy, you name it, it prob does it).
  • by RabidPuppetHunter (620593) on Monday August 02, 2004 @08:31PM (#9865929)
    I read the reference article when it first hit /. I am now returning to see the /. comments. Based on what I've scanned (>1 scores), it does not look like most people read the article. Understandable maybe because its long and yes, suspicious since it sounds like yet another iPod killer theory.

    But I suggest those that have not read it take a look. The writer builds a good case. Everyone who has a cell phone will carry it before anything else (true for me, my G3 iPod is great but its not exactly invisible to carry, the mini maybe). processing power and storage is improving radically. Who would have thought 600-1000 songs could fit in a device the size of a zippo lighter on steroids a few years ago? Yes, convergent theories aside, this one does make sense.

    The author also seems to position why Apple freaked at Real's encroachment. Its more about who controls DRM distribution in the long run - music as well as movies/video content. Despite the (rumored) loss leader of Apples iTunes service, there is big bucks in who controls the distribution in the long run. Apple (actually Jobs) is really plugged into the movie industry and the argument that the distribution of all (DRM) digital content may be the next big thing to homes and portables has some logic. iTune/iPod have been primarily a US success (remember, we are 4% of the world population) so getting control of the distribution of digital media worldwide is huge. Jobs gets it. Not sure the tunnel vision music or movie industry sees it (yet).

    Don't get me wrong, I love my iPods (yes...). But I have a history of lots of cool things that morph over the long run. I am not worried, I'd love a tiny device that is the gotta have device for communication and storage/playback (I assume audio playback not video). All it needs is a processor, storage, a few keys and a ear phone jack -- wait -- this is not anything radical, it could be the same platform as a next gen phone.

    I humbly suggest you take a peek at the article, worth the read.
  • by Bloodmoon1 (604793) <be DOT hyperion AT gmail DOT com> on Monday August 02, 2004 @10:01PM (#9866292) Homepage Journal
    ...the mobile phone is the primary convergence point for digital devices and will soon cause iPod sales to evaporate

    Right... Apple... Embattled... Porting OS X to Intel... G4 Overrated... Steve dying of cancer... iPod sales evaporating... Blah blah blah. Been there, heard dumb things like this before. Seriously, this article is retarded and a waste of Slashspace. I think the low comment numbers speak for that to a certain degree.

    He talks about Real's recent breaking of the iPod (which I would be quite surprised if Apple didn't try to DMCA their ass for or at least issue a firmware upgrade to "fix" the problem) and how it's basically just the tip of the iceburg. I really enjoyed the part:

    "We are stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod," Apple said in a release [about Real hacking the iPod].

    Now, besides the fact that Apples' response was decidedly uncool for a company whose products must stay cool at all costs...


    Duh. Apple doesn't like people fucking with their shit. I can say I would have issued about the same response. Well, maybe a little more harsh, but along the same lines. It's like how they don't allow Mac clones to be made anymore. It can possibly take away market share (from the iTunes Store, in this case) from them and removes their total power over their creation, something Apple loves to control. I've used and loved Macs for somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 years, and I can say without a doubt they do not like to lose money or power over their creations. And since when has Real been "cool", as is implied by saying Apple is uncool for not allowing Real to have their way with the iPod? '96? Anyone?

    Another choice quote from the article:

    People can only buy what they can afford. Lots of people want an iPod; they simply can't plunk down a $300 for a digital music player.

    Like hell. I thought the Minis [apple.com] wouldn't sell worth a shit (mostly due to being too expensive for not enough capacity) and I was dead wrong. I couldn't have been more wrong. They cannot keep those things in stock, and they cost $249 for 1/5 the capacity of the $300 normal iPod. Plus, apple doesn't exactly cater to the bargain basement crowd. Their cheapest computer is still several hundred dollars more expensive than almost all other major brands cheapest comp. You get what you pay for, and people know this.

    And one last gem:

    It's a sad truth, but yes, the iPod is going to go away. Everyone knows it; they just don't know when.

    Really? Thanks for the news break, Peter Jennings. And in other news, The Persian Empire lasted, in one form or another, from 648 BC to 1935 AD. Everything goes away eventually.
  • by Kris_J (10111) * on Monday August 02, 2004 @10:11PM (#9866319) Journal
    Sure, a new mobile phone might catch up with my old iPod, but by the time that phone is out, the new iPods will be even better. By the time mobiles are coming with 5 Gig hard drives, the new iPods will probably have 160Gig. By the time mobiles come with 20Gig hard drives, iPods will probably hold a terrabyte and play video on a creditcard-sized screen. And on and on.

    And this isn't just from some bitter mobile-hating dude. My mobile phone has a built-in MP3 player (and an Ogg Vorbis player I installed) and has been proven to support a 512MB MMC card. Sure, it's only one fourtieth of the storage of my iPod, but it's still 8.5 hours of music, better than any of the (3) MP3 players I bought before my iPod. Yet it's not my mobile that I hook up to an FM transmitter when I'm driving to work.

    And quite frankly, I'm not intending to upgrade either my mobile or my iPod for the foreseeable future.

  • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Monday August 02, 2004 @10:56PM (#9866465) Homepage
    He paints a grandiose scheme of how apple is somehow attempting to control all these different elements to sit in the middle of all content being the gatekeeper and toll-taker.

    The trouble is, the planets would have to align in a very precise way for this to happen.

    Here's where I think he runs into trouble:

    1) People who live and die by their cellphone think everybody does too. Perhaps this is generational, but most people don't take *any* devices when they go someplace. The idea that more than a minority of people think they need to be always connected is shortsighted.

    2) People will not forget they can own their music. The idea of a pay-per-listen model probably gives the RIAA members chills up and down their spine, but people haven't gone for this in sizeable numbers since the 45 RPM vinyl single was produced. People can own a sizeable stack of music in almost perfect digital form on CD today without any hints of DRM or usage restrictions. I don't think people will move towards this model without getting something in return. For example, I might go to a pay-per-listen model provided the "listen" cost so little that I didnt' even have to think about it... say 5 cents or less per listen. But clearly, this is less money than the record company gets today, so where is the incentive for them?

    3) People who are really into iTMS think the whole world is now downloading music. They're not. I think its great apple figured out a way to get people to download music and pay for it. But the amount they sell probably doesn't come close to what Wal-Mart does on their own.

    4) Finally, the biggest flaw with this op piece is that it assumes companies can act intelligently enough over a long-enough period of time to fundamentally change the market. But Apple has never demonstrated this kind of consistency over a period of decades; heck, they've not been around long enough. Fundemantally, I doubt any one company has this power, if only because other companies will not let Apple achieve a position of dominance. Arrayed against Apple are all the tech companies, the record companies, and probably a handful of agencies that control the artists.

    Now to be sure, this guy paints an interesting series of events, and who knows... maybe Apple believes it can be the new mega-entertainment power. Well, all I can say is that for all of Apple's visions and execution, they still can't get a significant portion of PC sales, so I don't believe the company really has the ability to execute in the content business. It isn't even core to Apple, how can they have any credibility in the entertainment arena?

  • Oh yeah (Score:3, Funny)

    by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @12:02AM (#9866777) Homepage
    arguing that the mobile phone is the primary convergence point for digital devices and will soon cause iPod sales to evaporate

    Because that just worked so well for the n-gage [sidetalkin.com].
  • Tricorder fantasy. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YouHaveSnail (202852) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:10AM (#9867035)
    You wanna know what I think? Maybe not. Anyway, here's what I think...

    I think a bunch of marketting types have been watching Star Trek twenty-four hours a day for several years now in an effort to get to know their most covetted target audience, the alpha geeks. They've come to the conclusion that we technical types fantasize about an all-knowing, all-powerful tricorder [cjb.net] type of device which confers success, smartness, and admiration upon its owner.

    And I think they're mostly right. Most of us want success, smartness, and admiration, and we'll happily pay for a device that'll bring it instantly. The perfect all-in-one gadget is the holy grail that geeks sought long before the invention of the transistor. It's the reason for the constant evolution of the Swiss Army knife [victorinox.ch], and the Leatherman [leatherman.com]. It's the reason that people keep building cars that fly, sort of [moller.com]. The gadget that beats all other gadgets is the nerd version of a no-hassle weight loss system, hair growing tonic, love potion #9, etc.

    But ultimately, they're wrong. When we get over our dreams of world domination and ultimate hipness, most of us realize that what's really important is having the right tool for the job [kk.org], not some feature-laden gadget that flies, sort of.

    After all, true fans realize that even on Star Trek, the tricorder, camera, phaser, etc. are all different devices.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun

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