ThoughtPiece: Is the music phone the next camera phone?

Comments

Then there are the carriers and the record labels: a business model has to be worked out that satisfies both players in this game, without alienating consumers with either too high prices or too restrictive DRM. We all know that both carriers and content providers tend to be very protective of profits, but both may need to compromise in order to gain a greater market.

Yet that potential market does nevertheless exist and is very tempting. Rumors have it that Apple will soon release an “iPhone” and Microsoft is readying a Zune phone. Jupiter Research predicts that in the US “the installed base of mobile phones capable of playing MP3 quality songs will surpass the number of music devise users beginning in 2009, but actual usage of music phones is nascent in the US.” IDC expects “music-enabled mobile phones to account for 60 percent of all mobile phones shipped to the United States by 2010.” Worldwide, Informa believes the number of handsets sold with music capabilities will rise from 69.8 million in 2005 to 126.1 million in 2006 – an 80% increase.

So what does this all mean to the BlackBerry platform? Only that any brand wanting to seriously compete in the consumer space must now take the calculus of music playing capabilities into consideration.

  • GAThrawn

    Don’t know how things are over there on the American continent, but as far as I can tell this is already true in Europe. I did a quick straw poll around the office, and (ignoring people that only use a Blackberry) everyone under 45 had a mobile phone capable of playing MP3s and had a minimum of 20 songs on their phone.

    The verdict is actually listening to the tunes is far more of a problem than getting tunes onto the phone. Most people either have a USB cable and drag/drop tunes straight onto the phone from Explorer, do the same thing over bluetooth, or fill up memeory cards with the music and plug them in.

    However privately listening to the phone (without annoying everyone else on the tube/train/bus) is more of a problem, you need the manufacturer’s proprietary-plugged earpiece, or bluetooth headset (with annoyingly poor battery life), or your stuck. There are basically no phones in common use with standardised headphone sockets.

  • GAThrawn

    Don’t know how things are over there on the American continent, but as far as I can tell this is already true in Europe. I did a quick straw poll around the office, and (ignoring people that only use a Blackberry) everyone under 45 had a mobile phone capable of playing MP3s and had a minimum of 20 songs on their phone.

    The verdict is actually listening to the tunes is far more of a problem than getting tunes onto the phone. Most people either have a USB cable and drag/drop tunes straight onto the phone from Explorer, do the same thing over bluetooth, or fill up memeory cards with the music and plug them in.

    However privately listening to the phone (without annoying everyone else on the tube/train/bus) is more of a problem, you need the manufacturer’s proprietary-plugged earpiece, or bluetooth headset (with annoyingly poor battery life), or your stuck. There are basically no phones in common use with standardised headphone sockets.

  • GAThrawn

    Don’t know how things are over there on the American continent, but as far as I can tell this is already true in Europe. I did a quick straw poll around the office, and (ignoring people that only use a Blackberry) everyone under 45 had a mobile phone capable of playing MP3s and had a minimum of 20 songs on their phone.

    The verdict is actually listening to the tunes is far more of a problem than getting tunes onto the phone. Most people either have a USB cable and drag/drop tunes straight onto the phone from Explorer, do the same thing over bluetooth, or fill up memeory cards with the music and plug them in.

    However privately listening to the phone (without annoying everyone else on the tube/train/bus) is more of a problem, you need the manufacturer’s proprietary-plugged earpiece, or bluetooth headset (with annoyingly poor battery life), or your stuck. There are basically no phones in common use with standardised headphone sockets.

  • L. M. Lloyd

    Here is my question about both music phones and camera phones. Are people actually using these features?

    I see an awful lot of people, around L.A. at least, who have phones (like the RAZR or SLVR) who still carry a digital camera, and maybe even an iPod. I think that with both music and cameras on phones the numbers are very deceptive, because I’m not sure that many people actually take advantage of the feature.

    Yeah, when you are deciding which phone to get you might say “cool, it has a camera and can play music” but that doesn’t automatically equate to using it. I know I carried around a camera phone for about a year and a half, and in that entire time took maybe two pictures with it.

    I kind of get the feeling that it is a cheap feature they stick on the phone so that they won’t lose the sale to a competitor with a better spec sheet, but that people don’t really use the phone for anything but a phone.

  • L. M. Lloyd

    Here is my question about both music phones and camera phones. Are people actually using these features?

    I see an awful lot of people, around L.A. at least, who have phones (like the RAZR or SLVR) who still carry a digital camera, and maybe even an iPod. I think that with both music and cameras on phones the numbers are very deceptive, because I’m not sure that many people actually take advantage of the feature.

    Yeah, when you are deciding which phone to get you might say “cool, it has a camera and can play music” but that doesn’t automatically equate to using it. I know I carried around a camera phone for about a year and a half, and in that entire time took maybe two pictures with it.

    I kind of get the feeling that it is a cheap feature they stick on the phone so that they won’t lose the sale to a competitor with a better spec sheet, but that people don’t really use the phone for anything but a phone.

  • Thought

    GAThrawn: great observation…no doubt that you in Europe lead the US and Canada in terms of adoption of the latest and greatest technology on cell phones. It’s my understanding that in Japan and S Korea they are even farther ahead.

    You are also correct in that listening to music is a more immersive experience than just snapping a picture. That makes its use a little more complicated. Of course, ease of interface use is also a key, as you allude to. So great points, all of them.

  • Thought

    GAThrawn: great observation…no doubt that you in Europe lead the US and Canada in terms of adoption of the latest and greatest technology on cell phones. It’s my understanding that in Japan and S Korea they are even farther ahead.

    You are also correct in that listening to music is a more immersive experience than just snapping a picture. That makes its use a little more complicated. Of course, ease of interface use is also a key, as you allude to. So great points, all of them.

  • Thought

    Lloyd: Great insight and a key question…perhaps THE key question.

    My feeling is this: esp for those in the US/Canada, where musicphone adoption lags, any music feature on a lot of phones goes unused all or most of the time. If the crucial issues, some of which are discussed above, get worked out, then this will probably change. As manufacturers throw music playing capabilities on more and more phones, time will tell if the majority of people will actually use these features.

    As for the cameraphone: I hear you about not using the camera on a phone. With me it varies…sometimes I use it rather frequently, other times I go a while without snapping a pic. I will say that when I was on a recent vacation, even with having a very nice Sony digital camera with me, there were times when I used a cameraphone simply because I could instantly send the image to someone else. However, I can tell you that far more pictures are taken with camera phones than with stand-alone cameras. The camera phone feature has been an unqualified success. In fact, I discussed this phenomena in an earlier piece that is linked to in the first sentence of this article.

    Thanks again, Lloyd…

  • Thought

    Lloyd: Great insight and a key question…perhaps THE key question.

    My feeling is this: esp for those in the US/Canada, where musicphone adoption lags, any music feature on a lot of phones goes unused all or most of the time. If the crucial issues, some of which are discussed above, get worked out, then this will probably change. As manufacturers throw music playing capabilities on more and more phones, time will tell if the majority of people will actually use these features.

    As for the cameraphone: I hear you about not using the camera on a phone. With me it varies…sometimes I use it rather frequently, other times I go a while without snapping a pic. I will say that when I was on a recent vacation, even with having a very nice Sony digital camera with me, there were times when I used a cameraphone simply because I could instantly send the image to someone else. However, I can tell you that far more pictures are taken with camera phones than with stand-alone cameras. The camera phone feature has been an unqualified success. In fact, I discussed this phenomena in an earlier piece that is linked to in the first sentence of this article.

    Thanks again, Lloyd…