Why Mobile Phones Make Bad iPods, and iPod, Therefore, iPhone?

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Date: Friday, June 30th, 2006, 09:00
Category: Uncategorized

Why mobile phones make bad music players
Mobile phones and iPods have reversed business models, and each is engineered to accomplish opposing tasks. Considering the following, and try to identify what complementary features a mobile phone music player hybrid would offer consumers.
Apple’s iPod is a music player designed to:
1. store and organize a large library of songs or video using a hard drive (30-60 GB);
2. play back high quality, stereo audio to headphones or external speakers;
3. work continuously for hours of music or video playback using a relatively large battery;
4. sync with a desktop computer for music and video content (using 480 Mbits/sec USB 2.0);
5. be sold at a hardware profit. Related services, such as iTunes and the ITMS, are either free or involve minimal profit.
Mobile phones are designed to:
1. store minimal data using flash memory (typically 1GB or less);
2. play and record voice-quality, mono sound using tiny built-in speakers or a bluetooth headset;
3. remain in standby mode, and only operate the cellular and bluetooth transmitters for short intervals during a call;
4. sync with a slow cell network provider for voice, data, photos, or text messaging (tomorrow’s 3G networks promise 3 Mbits/sec; todays’ “fast data” networks are 60-250 kbits/sec)
5. be a free or highly subsidized unit, paid for by network service fees sold under contract.
Wow, no complementary feature overlap at all! So what happens when we add iPod features to a mobile phone?
Read on.
iPod, Therefore, iPhone?
FrankinPod
Consider the features that make the iPod competitive as a music player: its simple and elegant design, compact size, light weight, high audio quality, large storage capacity, and competitive price. Now, make it a phone.
An iPod with mobile phone features would require mobile and bluetooth radio circuity and dialing controls. Those additions would make the iPod phone more complex, bulkier, shorten its battery life, and make it more expensive. Such a device might be a better compromise than a phone trying to be a music player, but it would still compete poorly against standalone music players or dedicated phones.
Additionally, such a hybrid device would be undesirable to mobile phone service providers, because it would allow users to avoid using their network. It would kill the additional network fees mobile providers are trying to bill for services like photo sharing and network sync, and their paid downloads like ring tones. Without service providers interested in subsidizing the cost of the phone, the iPod Phone would have to compete against free or very cheap phones. Read on.
Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RoughlyDrafted


Why mobile phones make bad music players
Mobile phones and iPods have reversed business models, and each is engineered to accomplish opposing tasks. Considering the following, and try to identify what complementary features a mobile phone music player hybrid would offer consumers.
Apple’s iPod is a music player designed to:
1. store and organize a large library of songs or video using a hard drive (30-60 GB);
2. play back high quality, stereo audio to headphones or external speakers;
3. work continuously for hours of music or video playback using a relatively large battery;
4. sync with a desktop computer for music and video content (using 480 Mbits/sec USB 2.0);
5. be sold at a hardware profit. Related services, such as iTunes and the ITMS, are either free or involve minimal profit.
Mobile phones are designed to:
1. store minimal data using flash memory (typically 1GB or less);
2. play and record voice-quality, mono sound using tiny built-in speakers or a bluetooth headset;
3. remain in standby mode, and only operate the cellular and bluetooth transmitters for short intervals during a call;
4. sync with a slow cell network provider for voice, data, photos, or text messaging (tomorrow’s 3G networks promise 3 Mbits/sec; todays’ “fast data” networks are 60-250 kbits/sec)
5. be a free or highly subsidized unit, paid for by network service fees sold under contract.
Wow, no complementary feature overlap at all! So what happens when we add iPod features to a mobile phone?
Read on.
iPod, Therefore, iPhone?
FrankinPod
Consider the features that make the iPod competitive as a music player: its simple and elegant design, compact size, light weight, high audio quality, large storage capacity, and competitive price. Now, make it a phone.
An iPod with mobile phone features would require mobile and bluetooth radio circuity and dialing controls. Those additions would make the iPod phone more complex, bulkier, shorten its battery life, and make it more expensive. Such a device might be a better compromise than a phone trying to be a music player, but it would still compete poorly against standalone music players or dedicated phones.
Additionally, such a hybrid device would be undesirable to mobile phone service providers, because it would allow users to avoid using their network. It would kill the additional network fees mobile providers are trying to bill for services like photo sharing and network sync, and their paid downloads like ring tones. Without service providers interested in subsidizing the cost of the phone, the iPod Phone would have to compete against free or very cheap phones. Read on.
Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RoughlyDrafted

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