Sona’s recent announcement that they’re launching the first-ever BlackBerry Media Player has gotten us at BlackBerry Cool thinking about the issues surrounding using your Blackberry as a media device similar to Apple’s iPod. Although we don’t know much from a technical standpoint right now, there are some general postulations we can make based upon our supreme knowledge of all things BlackBerry.
First of all, the technical concerns. Sona’s Media Player seems like software that’s really going to be limited to the newest and best BlackBerries. If they’re going to allow for OTA streaming of video, this will require an EDGE or EV DO wireless connection to make it worth while, which are predominantly found in newer BlackBerries like the 8700 and the 7130. We’re assuming older model Blackberrys don’t have the bandwidth nor the horsepower to run streaming video or audio. Even then, it still may be long wait times and a HUGE data charge to download last night’s episode of Lost on the daily commute.
If it’ll fit, that is. We’re hopeful that Sona will offer some form of desktop download then have the ability to upload to your Blackberry through Desktop Manager, and while this will definitely reduce download times (and hopefully be as easy to use as iTUnes), there are still some concerns. My hour-long 1up.com audio podcast weighs in at around 20mb (uncompressed mind you). The memory ceiling of the 8700 is 64MB, and half of that is reserved for the BlackBerry OS. Unless Sona is going to utilize serious compression, how is this going to work? Maybe if that rumored new consumer BlackBerry comes out with a removable memory slot…
Now for more practical concerns. Although the 8700 has a bigger and higher resolution screen than most cell phones (and definitely the Treo), that still doesn’t make me wanna watch video on my BlackBerry any more. Do you really want to watch a full episode of Lost on your BlackBerry? We believe that Soma’s relationship with CanWest MediaWorks is key simply because they can offer crackberry addicts two things they would actually want to watch on their BlackBerry: news and sports highlights. Small, quick and disposable content like this will both appeal to their target audience and remove most technical concerns (most people don’t care if a newscast is low res if they’re getting good news).
Please post a comment to let us know what you think about the BlackBerry as a media player. We’ll have more on this interesting topic after WES 2006.