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Summary:

I just caught the latest press release from Creative about their new Zen Mosaic Digital Audio Player when this question came to mind: are these devices slowly fading away as the same functions are becoming standard in mobile phones? Let’s take a look at the new […]

Creativezenmosaic

I just caught the latest press release from Creative about their new Zen Mosaic Digital Audio Player when this question came to mind: are these devices slowly fading away as the same functions are becoming standard in mobile phones? Let’s take a look at the new Zen, for example:

  • 2- or 4-GB of flash storage ($99 and $129, respectively), with 8- and 16-GB models coming later. That’s plenty of room to carry tunes, but most new phones have some internal storage and many are including microSD expansion options.
  • 32 hours of audio playback, which is pretty darn good. Most phones can’t approach that, but some can play audio for well over 20 hours. Plenty in my book.
  • A built in speaker for the Mosaic. Nice, but probably of limited use and I can’t remember the last time I saw a phone that didn’t have some sort of external speaker that could be used for the same purpose.
  • 1.8-inch display on the Zen to display photos and videos. This doesn’t exactly trump most modern phones.
  • A built-in FM radio. That’s definitely attractive to some and I’ve seen very few phones with this capability. It’s a differentiator, but for a limited audience I think.

Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not picking on the new Creative Zen Mosaic as it looks good on paper and for folks that want a dedicated DAP, it should be a consideration. I could have easily inserted any other player in the mix here because the question really applies to the product genre, not a specific product.

What do you think? Are we at the point where a dedicated DAP is moving down (or off?) your gadget list due to phones offering similar functionality? I haven’t looked at sales numbers to confirm or refute my thought on this; I’m more interested in your opinions of the trend. For the record: I still have the first-gen Zune that I bought when it was introduced. However, for most audio & video, I use my first-gen iPhone these days; my son uses the Zune to watch transcoded DVDs we own.

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  1. DAPs are on their way to the niche market. They’ll still be around, but considering the vast majority of DAP users also carry phones, convergence is inevitable. And considering how many FM stations broadcast on the web, even that’s a dwindling consideration.

  2. I use my phone for music, but I try to carry a DAP when possible. Using your phone for music means that you drain the battery of your phone; and for some people people I think that isn’t acceptable. I’d prefer a dedicated DAP that I can listen to and drain without worries, and a cell phone that will be ready when I need to check something online or make a call.

  3. GoodThings2Life Thursday, July 24, 2008

    I disagree. The entire reason that I bought a Zune AND use it daily is because I refuse to use my phone as a music player (thereby wasting battery life).

    Now, if they can get it to where I can get 12 hours of continuous playback AND 8-12 hours of continuous talk time, THEN I will reconsider. Until then, I’ll continue to diversify my gadget experience.

  4. I lost my iPod and decided to not buy a new one, as I’m waiting until next month to upgrade to the iPhone 3G.
    I’m using my phone as a dedicated music player, and it’s awful. The 2.5 mm jack requires an adapter that’s always getting disconnected. I used to use my phone to browse the Web while on the train to work, but now can’t – still won’t be able to with the iPhone. If I need to check a text or e-mail, there’s no way to get back to the spot I was at in the music.
    Now I’m debating whether I should just go ahead and buy a DAP to go along with the iPhone 3G.

  5. I agree with several of the above posters — since I use my cell phone for business, I can’t afford to have the battery drained when getting off a plane because I was listening to music during the entire flight. A separate device is imperative, and I’m quite pleased with my Creative Zen.

  6. Very few people I knew use their phone to listen to music. What surprises me is that the one area that dedicated players had the advantage, they’ve mostly walked away from – having a hard drive (and very large storage space). The smaller memory based players are nice (I prefer to use my Zen when I work out), but I bought an iPod classic (first apple purchase!) because of all the podcasts, audio books and videos I like to carry with me (not to mention my Napster to Go account). Throw in all the apps that a phone like the iPhone can make use of, and you’re limiting the memory even more.

  7. Very few people I knew use their phone to listen to music. What surprises me is that the one area that dedicated players had the advantage, they’ve mostly walked away from – having a hard drive (and very large storage space). The smaller memory based players are nice (I prefer to use my Zen when I work out), but I bought an iPod classic (first apple purchase!) because of all the podcasts, audio books and videos I like to carry with me (not to mention my Napster to Go account). Throw in all the apps that a phone like the iPhone can make use of, and you’re limiting the memory even more.

  8. Niels Andersen Thursday, July 24, 2008

    For me it’s a lot about interfaces. I’ve had a bunch of Sonyericsson phones in the past that are all marketed as music phones, but the UI and syncing was a pain in the butt.

    I’ve just ordered an iPhone and I’m excited to see if that will make me want to get rid of my dedicated DAP. I love the simplicity of syncing and using the iPod. The phones I’ve had have simply not been up to snuff, but I don’t know if SE phones are generally considered good at doing mp3 stuff.

  9. GT2L: Am I reading correctly that you need 20-24 hours of continuous use out of a music phone? You do know that puts you in the niche market, right? Most people take breaks to sleep, eat, and take care of hygiene in a 24-hour period. :)

  10. Very few people I knew use their phone to listen to music. What surprises me is that the one area that dedicated players had the advantage, they’ve mostly walked away from – having a hard drive (and very large storage space). The smaller memory based players are nice (I prefer to use my Zen when I work out), but I bought an iPod classic (first apple purchase!) because of all the podcasts, audio books and videos I like to carry with me (not to mention my Napster to Go account). Throw in all the apps that a phone like the iPhone can make use of, and you’re limiting the memory even more.

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