The mobile phone vs the iPod
Bill Gates believes mobile phones will overtake portable music players like the iPod as peoples’ MP3 players of choice.
I keep hearing this prediction and, somehow, it just doesn’t feel right.
Companies seem intent on converging devices just because they can. And considering the number of people I hear complaining about the difficulty of finding a mobile phone without a camera built-in, they’re not about to stop there.
Phones and music players have different lifespans. If all my devices are converged into one, it means I have to replace the whole kaboodle every time I want an improvement to one of the individual components or, worse, one of them dies. A one-size-fits-all interface to multiple functionalities is also bound to sacrifice some usability along the way.
How many people own a TV with DVD player built-in? I see them in the shops, but I don’t see many people buying them. Same story, except consumers have a choice in that case. Hell, they even managed to combine a USB flash drive and a Swiss-Army knife.
A much better scenario, in my humble opinion, is individual devices that talk to each other: your MP3 player knows your phone is ringing, things like that. That means standards though, and we know how long and tortuous that road is.
Time to get ready for another extra feature you won’t use on your mobile.