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Mobile Phone - Convergence Point For iPod, Others?

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the famed-all-in-one dept.

Media (Apple) 301

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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FUCK APPLE BE GAYER (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9864955)

1) Be Gay
2) Be a Nigger
3) Watch Gay Niggers From Outer Space
4) Get a fR057 p157!!!
5) ???
6) Profit!!! You are now part of the GNAA, the Gay Niggers Association of America!!!

Props to my Gay Niggers
-Nichevo

Yes, but (3, Funny)

ODD97 (645414) | more than 10 years ago | (#9864956)

Will it run Linux?

(not even completey off-topic! yay!)

Re:Yes, but (3, Funny)

System.out.println() (755533) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865124)

Only if you have a Beowulf cluster of them.

Re:Yes, but (2, Interesting)

gotr00t (563828) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865289)

Yes. You can find more about it here [sf.net] .

iPod haters (3, Interesting)

wickersty (800729) | more than 10 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865005)

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.

Re:iPod haters (5, Funny)

dmitrygr (736758) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865203)

would you please refrain from giving away my root password?

Re:iPod haters (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865254)

and credit card pin code

Re:iPod haters (4, Insightful)

Rew190 (138940) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:iPod haters (3, Insightful)

Kobayashi Maru (721006) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

Impending Black Hole (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#9864962)

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.

Funny? Try plagarized... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865171)

from that IEEE article on convergence from last Friday. Sigh....

One thing I promise you... (3, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9864963)

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.

Re:One thing I promise you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865053)

OTOH, will you let a computer company come between you and your music collection? In the future, a few computers down the road, will you need the "authorization" of the computer company to play the collection that you "bought" on the new computer that you bought?

Re:One thing I promise you... (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865085)

"not A" does not imply "B"

You're being ridiculous. What computer company could come between me and a pile of MP3's? Not gonna happen.

Re:One thing I promise you... (1)

John Whitley (6067) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865287)

You're being ridiculous. What computer company could come between me and a pile of MP3's? Not gonna happen.

Not between you and your pile of MP3's, of course. They'll come between you and your pile of DRM'ed music files, AAC or otherwise. The meaning of "I bought some music today" will change in the face of the business logic of DRM code. That's the vision, notwithstanding that some of us can see the trap before it's sprung.

Think of it this way: the DMCA provides a callback hook into U.S. law for software and firmware code. I.e. a corporation can write any "law" they want that can be realized in DRM business logic and pertains to the use and distribution of content.

Re:One thing I promise you... (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865357)

I don't have any DRM'ed music files, for exactly the reasons you outline.

Currently, some phones can play MP3's. That's cool...it's a useful feature. But if the phone companies start trying to sell you on being able to get to your music everywhere, look out. They WILL put their hooks into you, and you WILL lose access to your data.

Do not trust them.

Re:One thing I promise you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865339)

I'm afraid it's inevitable. It's the natural progression of all digital media to be owned and distributed, eventually, by computer companies. You can see it happening already with Apple and Microsoft.

--
perl -e '$??s:;s:s;;$?::s;;=]=>%-{<-|}<&|`{;; y; -/:-@[-`{-};`-{/" -;;s;;$_;see'

Re:One thing I promise you... (3, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865380)

I own an iPod, and Apple controls zero of my music. Not the same situation with a mobile phone, that can literally phone home whenever it wants to and change the rules on me.

Inevitable? Only if you buy into it. Which I won't.

Re:One thing I promise you... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865104)

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.

Yeah, but if it's a Motorola phone with iPod functionality and you BUY the thing separate from any service, they have no right to bill you for what you do offline.

Of course, I'm probably some sort of weirdo, since I buy my cellphones rather than sign up for some package deal which gives my a phone while I'm shackled to a 2 year contract or such....

Re:One thing I promise you... (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865133)

Silly monkey. Why do you think that you get to pick what rights you have when you're using what is essentially their phone?

I mean, they conned you into buying it, but unless they provide you with service, it's a paperweight.

Re:One thing I promise you... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865252)

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 a minimum-term contract (which is essentially a rental phone, and they give you free upgrades to the latest model etc).

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.

Re:One thing I promise you... (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865340)

I am indeed from the USA, and there's only one thing that the phone companies all agree: They want to wring every available penny out of their customers. You can rely on any deal they offer is good for them and bad for you.

Hence my mistrust. : )

Re:One thing I promise you... (3, Insightful)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865372)

"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).

Re:One thing I promise you... (3, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865404)

Heh. Try that with the current iteration: ringtones. Let me know how that works out for you.

It'd be ridiculously simple for the phone mfr to give you a place to specify the .mid or .mp3 file you want to play as a ringtone. But then, they wouldn't be able to make money off the deal. So they won't.

Well, here we go again... (1, Interesting)

GFLPraxis (745118) | more than 10 years ago | (#9864968)

Yet another somebody predicting the doom of the iPod...next?

Seriously, does EVERYONE have to predict the death of the iPod?

Re:Well, here we go again... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865126)

Well, everyone's predicted the death of Apple, so this is a natural progression

Re:Well, here we go again... (4, Funny)

irokitt (663593) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865227)

I predict that the iPod will die, but will rise again after three days have passed.

i'll show you the pawn (2, Funny)

proj_2501 (78149) | more than 10 years ago | (#9864971)

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!

Re:i'll show you the pawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865282)

Who cares? Rechargable batteries are a pivotal part of these technologies. Improvements to rechargable battery technology is also pivotal to improvements in mobile technology. They should get their dues for this kind of stuff.

Fuck off. (-1, Flamebait)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 10 years ago | (#9864980)

How much you want to bet this won't be happening soon? Use your damn brain. Is your cell phone going to have 20+gigs of storage soon? No, it fucking won't. Will iTunes be selling music for cell phones soon? Looks like I shut the door on this one. No one else need bother posting here. This thread is trash.

At some point it will. (2)

Snarph (596331) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865030)

Depends. One of these [xda-developers.com] can handle 2 gigs via a SD card right now.
I'd like to see a version that will take a microdrive or a 1.8-inch drive. XDA-3 will not, but I wouldn't rule it out at some point.

Re:Fuck off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865047)

my phone [sonyericsson.com] already has 1 gig of storage right now (via a stick), how long till they put a 20 gig mini-hd in ? i give it 1yr at the most so enjoy that iPod like you enjoy cassette tape

Nice Troll -- BUT ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865090)

I'll do you one better.

In "The Village", the creatures are not real. They are costumes worn by the "elders" to scare people from leaving the villiage and realizing that the year is sometime in the 1990's and their is technology. In the end, "Ivy" kills her brother who is wearing a creature costume.

Jason Bourne's girlfriend is killed in the Bourne Supremacy, she is mistakenly shot by someone doing shady business with the CIA big-boys. Bourne only kills who is necessary, and not for revenge, instead he manages to tape a confession by the higher-ups, and the main shady CIA agent kills himself. Bourne goes into hiding alone for good at the end of the movie.

YHBT, HAND.

Re:Nice Troll -- BUT ... (1)

tbdean (163865) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865179)

>In "The Village"...

sonofabith... that's what I get for reading at 0. Serves me right. Switching to "2" now.

What sucks is, someonw ruined "Signs" for me too...

See the movie anyway (1)

Colazar (707548) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865452)

If you like M Night Shyamalan's other films, you'll like this one too, even with the "surprises" blown. This one's much more about character than plot, anyway. (The actress who plays Ivy is *amazing*.)

Besides, that guy got all the details wrong. Might not help much, but at least you can spot his inaccuracies.

Re:Fuck off. (1)

javaxman (705658) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865185)

It looks like iTunes already sells music for cell phones. [cnn.com]

iPod minis only have 4gig hard drives, you don't think those will show up in cell phones soon?

A 2-gig drive already costs less than $50 [extremetech.com] , so see what happens in a year or two... I guess it all depends on what your definition of soon is...

two words: battery capacity (4, Interesting)

Audent (35893) | more than 10 years ago | (#9864999)

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.

Re:two words: battery capacity (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865198)

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

Re:two words: battery capacity (1)

mothz (788133) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865359)

Okay, buddy, but when's the last time an iPod shit on your car?

Re:two words: battery capacity (1)

EMH_Mark3 (305983) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865465)

I think it was around when he got out of McFoodplace after eating a good McIPod burger.

Re:two words: battery capacity (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865360)

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.

Re:two words: battery capacity (2, Interesting)

gotpaint32 (728082) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865410)

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 convergence just around the corner, infrastructure will grow to service the market. Like cars and gas stations; because sadly battery technology just doesn't advance as fast they can shrink hard drives!

Cell phone convergence (3, Insightful)

wickersty (800729) | more than 10 years ago | (#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!

Re:Cell phone convergence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865084)

You forgot the Nokia NGage and the NGage QD, my favorite platform to play all the latest titles on!

Re:Cell phone convergence (2, Insightful)

FerretFrottage (714136) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865326)

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 and voice. Sure you can do voice over your PC now, but the "average" PC user isn't up to speed on VOIP yet and it's not mobile. You make a "phone" that does all the above just "good enough" and people will flock to it. Even /.ers will get on board...as long as it can bluetooth and/or wifi connect to their servers and of course...as long as it runs Linux ;)

Re:Cell phone convergence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865480)

Face it - the cameras suck and the're next to no use for having a $hitty camera in your phone.

Camera phones won't be shitty for too much longer. There are a few 1+mp phones coming out this year that have CMOS sensors. These won't be much better than the current camera phones. However, LG will be releasing their vx8000 [phonescoop.com] sometime by the end of this year and it has a 1.3mp CCD. You can see pictures taken with that phone here [howardforums.com] (WARNING: page contains ~14mb of pics). Sony-Ericsson is coming out with a 1.3mp CCD camera phone [phonescoop.com] .

So saying that convergence sucks is only half right. It sucks in the early stages, but once it's matured it's quite a good thing. You just have to be patient.

It's true for me (3, Interesting)

Cee (22717) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:It's true for me (3, Insightful)

Rew190 (138940) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

I am intrigued (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865019)

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?

Re:I am intrigued (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865247)

Apropos! Vis-a-vis! What the F*** does that MEAN!

/SNL alum who's trying really hard to be funny but only produces chortles.

Differences between US, EU, Asia (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#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!

Re:Differences between US, EU, Asia (4, Insightful)

Kphrak (230261) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865265)

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.

Re:Differences between US, EU, Asia (2, Interesting)

zaxios (776027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865349)

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. (This [slashdot.org] may also be relevant.)

DrunkenReply (3, Funny)

hostyle (773991) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865024)

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

Apple/Motorola Deal (3, Interesting)

Cobblepop (738291) | more than 10 years ago | (#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

All roads will roam. (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865058)

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.

A phone is just a phone (3, Interesting)

Blacklantern (658383) | more than 10 years ago | (#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!

Re:A phone is just a phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865288)

"I don't want to stop my playlist so I can pick up a call!" - i think one of the strengths mobile phones have when playing music is that you *dont* need to stop your playlist to pick up a call, it does it for you, and then resumes it when the call is finished. For this purpose i tend to use my phone as a music player when i'm biking to and from work (means i can still answer calls if someone needs me), and use my ipod more generally when i'm out and about and have the ability to pause my playlist and pick up the phone properly (though i'd much rather they had the interoperability for my phone to stop my ipod playing...)

Steve Jobs is dying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865070)

Sad news. Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs is dying of pancreatic cancer. According to a hospital spokesman, this is one of the most devastating forms of cancer, with survival after diagnosis usually limited to one year at most. Even if you don't like homosexual computers and one button mice, there's no denying Steve "Rim" Jobs was an American icon. He will be missed.

Business Cycle (3, Interesting)

usefool (798755) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865093)

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.

DRM 2 restrictive on phones - hogwash (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865147)

Look phone people sell service not devices, the devices come free with the service. Mobile telecos wont even let people use mp3 ringtones, they h8 NEthing U dont pay for by the minute.
Ipod is expensive hardware + noprofit sevice + copy all your own stiuff 2 it.
The one DRM even common fools will notice is when they pay to listen to every track on their phone, it'll be like having a coin-fed jukebox in your pocket.
The RIAA would love to be able to moniter your music listening via the network they will never let this happen unless it is pay per listen - as will the telecos - they drive device sales.
So - this will never happen the whole article is il; thought out (intruiging) hogwash.

Re:Business Cycle (1)

s7uar7 (746699) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865232)

See usefool and his 4 year old phone here [evula.org] (evula.org)

duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865108)

Stick as many devices you can into a handheld and you win.

May I be the first to say: Duh! (2, Insightful)

dhovis (303725) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:May I be the first to say: Duh! (4, Insightful)

BobTheLawyer (692026) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865204)

I wonder if they're planning to actually build a cellphone. The two things Apple is best at - design and user interface - are lacking in virtually all the cellphones currently on the market.

Re:May I be the first to say: Duh! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865382)

Yeah, I wonder [slashdot.org] ...

Re:May I be the first to say: Duh! (2, Informative)

mothz (788133) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865435)

I wonder if they're planning to actually build a cellphone.

Not if they paid attention in high school economics class. There's almost no profit [slashdot.org] in manufacturing cell phones, and when that happens, firms are supposed to leave the market, not enter it.

Re:May I be the first to say: Duh! (1)

kmak (692406) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865471)

Thank you. And people wonder why Apple's fighting Real about Harmony..

I wonder what happend to Zayante? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865137)

Apple acquired [apple.com] Zayante Inc. over two years ago. Zayante was known to demo wireless FireWire at the time.

I wonder if they are going to include that technology to AirPort Express.

But... (1)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865151)

how will I know I have a phone call if I'm too busy listening to my music and playing games with it?

Unless Apple is part of the deal (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865164)

Motorola is supposed to be selling an "iTunes compatible" phone by early 2005.

Here [cnn.com]

and here. [reuters.com]

This is stupid (3, Insightful)

geek (5680) | more than 10 years ago | (#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 (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865216)

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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865296)

That's exactly why I got rid of my cell phone years ago. I never really used it. And whenever someone would call, I was either at work or at school. Not exactly the times or places where I want to be interrupted. So I tell people, if you want to get a hold of me call me at home, leave a message, or email me.

All products are expendable pawns (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865194)

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.

Convergence is overrated... (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865209)

...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

The ultimate evolution of the cell phone... (1)

Toxygen (738180) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865215)

...will be the tricorder. Eventually they're gonna cram so much stuff in that they won't have room for the actual PHONE anymore and we'll have to carry around communicators.

Does no one recognize the value of a gadget that does it's one function extremely well? Specialization is the key for success. I'd never buy a soundcard that has a network feature built in. I'd never buy a tv that has a vcr attached to the bottom. I don't want a pack of cigarettes with a lighter on the side, and if I want a phone I'm only gonna buy it for the sake of talking to people, not so I can write them emails warning them I'm about to call them during off-hours and send them a picture of where I'm calling them from. I LIKE my gadget arsenal, I LIKE not needing to buy a new phone/camera/emailer/sms/mp3 player just because the one feature I want to upgrade is attached to all that crap I don't want. It's not like my penis is gonna grow another inch if I have a ton of features in one (or 4) machines on my belt. All the stuff I have, I have because I can't think/find/buy a better solution for that particular task and I hate the idea of reducing the amount of the stuff I choose to carry with me at the expense of not being able to do any of it as well as I know I could.

Are there any phones that are just great phones? (1)

dinodriver (577264) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865430)

Are there any examples at all of current cell phones that are simply great phones? Or is it simply that all phones have the best "phone" part anyone could make considering the size/weight restraints of the phone and so there is no way for a manufacturer to come along and distinguish themselves in the market with the quality of the phone-ness of their phone?

What could be done to improve the reception and usefulness of the phone part of a phone? Is there something they could do that is being ignored by developers now as they chase new features to add to the device instead? Anything?

flash memory players yes (1)

asv108 (141455) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865222)

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 laptop bag contained:
  • IBM X31
  • Canon S400
  • Ipod
  • phone
This whole convergence hype has gone way too far, yes there will be lots of features in your basic cell phone and PDA but its not going to replace or come close to matching the quality of a stand alone device.

Apple and Steve Jobs are dying: Sell stock now. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865229)

Apple Computer, Inc. (AAPL), beset by angry creditors and faced with severe G5 production problems, is on the verge of bankruptcy and total collapse. Apple continues to nosedive into oblivion, as confirmed by industry watchers, investors, and, most painfully, by customers themselves.

As a recent study by Bank of America Securities puts it, Apple ekes out its small existence by peddling new hardware to its existing customers; once those customers are satisfied, Apple will run out of steam [forbes.com] . If these disastrous financial forecasts aren't enough, one need only look to Netcraft for confirmation that Apple's market share among Web servers is slowly dwindling down to zero. The market share of Mac OS X is now eclipsed even by that of FreeBSD, another OS that is deeply imperiled.

But the abysmal server presence of OS X is the least of Apple's worries. Apple's most recent quarterly report indicates a death spiral of cash loss. Indeed, Apple has hemorrhaged some $276 million in the last quarter, while racking up a dizzying $2.4 billion in debt. Revenue from sales of the iPod, the portable music player that is barely keeping Apple afloat in this shipwreck of fiscal woe, declined dramatically, threatening to shrink further an already miniscule lifeline.

Likewise, sales of the eMac, iMac and Power Macintosh G5 lines continue to skid. Apple is unable to secure G5 processors in sufficient numbers to supply its customers with Power Macintosh G5 and iMac computers, as Steve Jobs himself recently admitted, sending Apple stock into a deadly tailspin. The staggering decline in sales numbers confirms it: there is no doubt that one-time Apple customers, dismayed with the floundering ineptitude of their favorite company, have begun turning away in droves, seeking cheaper, faster hardware from manufacturers such as Dell.

Apple teeters on the precipice of doom, one step away from plummeting to its ultimate nadir of bankruptcy, chaos, and implosion. And with the recent news that Steve Jobs has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, the forthcoming leadership vacuum and low morale at Apple will only hasten the inevitable. Wise investors will quickly dump AAPL stock and abandon the doomed company, now less than one year away from complete disintegration.

It's time to move to a new platform: Apple is dead.

Re:Apple and Steve Jobs are dying: Sell stock now. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865370)

Apple.... Going out of business since 1984!

Re:Apple and Steve Jobs are dying: Sell stock now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865508)

I think you mean "Going out of business since 1977":

Apple becomes Incorporated January 4,1977 [computerhope.com] .

I dislike this trend... (1)

singularity (2031) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865242)

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. I would rather see the PDA be that point. Why are cell phone manufacturers going out of their way to come up with proprietary OS's for their cell phones (or, even worse, some rebranded Windows version for mobile phones)? It is reinventing the wheel that was created with PalmOS and other PDA OS's.

Of course, then we get back to the argument against most PDA cell phones - size. The screen would have to be big enough to do most normal PDA functions, which immediately becomes a minimum size for the device. That is where the PAN comes in - just have the cell phone device be a dumb device controlled by the PDA.

An article on infoSync [infosyncworld.com] described the phone well:

It should have number and dialing buttons, it should have phone configuration features (and an easy-access vibrate mode switch), it should have a small emergency address book, a digital data connection, and a Bluetooth connection.

ObTopic: No, I do not think Apple has anything to really fear from cell phone convergence. In a few years I think you will see wildly different convergence devices that actually take the best from each of their ancestors and not the worst (size of PDA, camera of a cell phone, battery drain of a 802.11 device, etc). Right now the best MP3 player on the market is the iPod (or, at least, the most popular), so I think you will see other manufacturers wanting to jump on the iTunes/AAC bandwagon.

Convergence isn't all that good, really (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865243)

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 want a phone, I want a phone. I don't want to use the phrase "reboot my phone", and I'd really, really like one which works in the US, Europe and East Asia (i.e. multi-chip/multi-band). If the purpose of a phone it to be in touch with people, it should work worldwide.

I've not found a use for a pda, since I've got pen/paper and a laptop. I just don't need the information all that fast. Yeah, I'm not up to date and all that, but it's my money :-).

Real iPod Killer (2, Interesting)

tobes (302057) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865258)

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.

It's also called a radio... (2, Insightful)

Sophrosyne (630428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865387)

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!

Re:It's also called a radio... (1)

tobes (302057) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865503)

There's a big difference between on-demand music, and personalized streaming vs. "pushed" music. Most radio sucks anyway :)

iPod to fade away? (2, Insightful)

form3hide (302171) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865266)

Come on... you must be kidding...

Look at the overall picture...

The iPod mini is about the size of your typical cell phone. Apple suddenly has interest in providing the iTunes store for Motorola phones...

They're testing waters... I think Apple will become a major player in cell phones in a few years

DataPt., ConvergencePt,, TippingPt, & ... pund (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865269)

You only need remember the Disney+Apple convergence! Jobs doesn't converge.

Apple's business is to innovate 1st-G technology and develop software gateways that enable it to function as a broker.

Jobs only develops platforms which adhere to such an Apple business plan. iPod+phone adds a DiversificationPt seeding Apple's business plan into a wider marketshare.

There is no phone ConvergencePt happening. Apple will continue a Diversification Strategy into cars (ie. BMW), homes (ie. AirportExpress) and media (ie. Pixar) irregardless of a singular success in any one of them.

Cell Phones- (1)

Sophrosyne (630428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865292)

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 minute plans, people calling to find where you are... you think that's the device of the future?
The internet features flat out suck. The picture features suck, the capacity sucks... everything about cell-phones suck, from battery life, to signal quality.
Wait until you can get VoIP via WiFi cell phones or something... then perhaps the technology will have improved, the phone plans will be less expensive- and phone companies wont be nickel and diming their customers.

Wrong, wrong wrong! (2, Insightful)

littleghoti (637230) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865316)

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 a portable computer in a phone because phones don't do input very well. Same with everything else that phones are "going to converge" with. If it stops it being a useful, convenient phone, it will suffer. Apple seem to understand how users interact with technology better than most other companies. Mac users will mostly give up their machines after you pry them from their cold. dead hands. Ditto newton users and ipod owners. People want to use machines that are right for the job: thus cameras to take pictures, phones to ring people, and computers for computing.

The telephone is useless (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865327)

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 sell that. The products are meaningless.

mobile phones? nope: IP addresses R Us. (3, Interesting)

gberke (160126) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

Love my iPod, hate my Sony T616 (1)

Paul Carver (4555) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865348)

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 picture because I know it's going to suck.

I just don't buy the argument. "Good enough" isn't.

Maybe RTFA (4, Informative)

theolein (316044) | more than 10 years ago | (#9865378)

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.

Bah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865416)

Control legal content? Who cares, it's like, what, 15, 20 percent, at most...

"legal content" ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865446)

... is a moving target. Can't see wanting to buy a device that wouldn't store what I decided to store.

Cell Phones are Annoying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9865466)

Cell phones are just plain annoying. The iPod isn't. It's actually fun to use. So unless someone creates a cell phone that's not a nuisance, i.e. it doesn't work at all, I'll be happily jamming away with my 'pod.

I don't buy it (2, Interesting)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

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