Blog Post

IPod and the pretenders

New Crop of Portable is trying to take a bite of Apple’s IPod. AP reports that five companies – Dell, Virgin, Creative Labs, IRiber and Archos – have unveiled their latest iPod challengers — portable music players with hard disks that can store anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 songs. “Everyone is trying to get a bite out of Apple’s piece of the pie,” Susan Kevorkian, analyst at market research firm IDC tells AP. However most of them are unlikely to succeed. Its one of those things – like Diesel jeans, Volkswagen Bug and Porsche – they have become cultural icons, and in a way symbol of post-bubble technological chutzpah. Apple, despite all the competition has two big things going for it: it has cracked the code when it comes to human-machine interaction. Secondly, it has put together a most compelling package of hardware, software and content. I am yet to see a device with the simplistic elegance of IPod. Isn’t it ironic, the more the competitors, the more IPod sells. Is it perhaps people have a chance to compare the best with the worst, and make up their mind, that extra few dollars is really worth it.

Sony, Samsung and others want a piece of this market, but if they want to do it, then they need to learn the consumer behavior. The teens of today are a complicated a lot. And if that is not enough, car companies are helping spread the IPod phenomenon: have IPod will travel. The IPod economy which has lent a DIY appeal to the device.

9 Responses to “IPod and the pretenders”

  1. Jesse Kopelman

    Songs on a phone is more natural than pictures. In some ways it is a better fit than PDA, since you don’t need a big screen. Thanks to their partnership with Ericsson, Sony is probably in the best position to come out with a good combo device. That said, just as not everyone has a calculator watch, not everyone will want a combo device. Also, there is the big issue of having to re-up your cellphone contract just to get a good deal on the new larger HD MP3 player . . . Still, music enabled phones will be just as big a deal as picture phones.

  2. I believe the phone has brought about a lot of convergence in technologies, but I agree with David that it’s not going to kill off certain devices – sure you can take a photo using your phone, but it is a device that is not designed for photo-taking and it shows … both in quality and functionality … PDA functionality is a natural progression for phones whereas storing 10,000 songs on a phone or a couple of thousand digital images is not a viable proposition.

    Manufacturers may force convergence on people to sell more products, but many of the new “features” are little more than gimmicks.

  3. OH i don’t know brian tumor from bluetooth. what about brain cancer one gets from watch liars on televisions, broke billionaires pretending to be superheroes. oh wait…. i was not supposed to say that out loud

  4. Apple is in cell phones with Moto and perhaps others. The new AAC+ is ideal for cell phones. 80% CD quality at 48 kps.

    But a bluetooth headphone in each ear?

    Brain tumor city.

  5. Dimatar I admire your brashness but your common sense lags far behind. Smart phones fail to capture significant marketshare for the same reason Swiss Army knives wind up hidden in underwear drawers. An all in one device is unwieldy and not near as convenient as a few special purpose devices.

    Among other things, imagine a Sony music, camera, phone, PDA, nose picker. So I’m listening to Counting Crows and jotting down a few notes, when a phone call comes in just as Elvis steps into the room. While I’m trying to remember how the fuck to turn off the music and switch the phone to voice mail while flipping free the camera lens the battery will probably die.

  6. 1. What about the emerging markets? Mobile phones rule the consumer electronics market in China, Eastern Europe and Brazil. Apple’s market share is a joke.

    2. The Apple products are so expensive!
    3. Facts:
    156.4 mobile phones shipped in Q2 2004

    Apple’s global market share is 1.7%, drops out of top 10 vendors

    “The cell phone is the 800 pound gorilla of portable devices; dedicated digital music players are going to be fads.
    … The cell phone has already defeated the standalone PDA (who has those anymore?)
    … will defeat the standalone digital camera
    … will defeat the standalone MP3 player (iPods included)
    … will defeat the USB Flash Drives

    … and will eventually largely defeat a large segment of the desktop/notebook computer market.

    Add a significant amount of storage to cellphones and not only will standalone MP3 players and USB memory sticks take a major hit, but everyone will jack their cellphones into a workstation via USB or FireWire and have a portable computer sans monitor/keyboard with them at all times (and those that have laptops merely for address books, documents and email will no longer have much need for lugging around a notebook computer).

    (–UNLESS– cellphone size decreases to the point where it becomes earpiece sized in the coming 5 to 10 years where the decreased size disallows increased on-board storage capacity. But in this case, the cellphone is likely to displace music players via virtual internet accessible storage.)”

  7. Or it could be that the iPod hasn’t enjoyed any serious competition yet. It certainly doesn’t want for competition, and I’m not saying any of the devices you mentioned are iPod-killers, but I suspect that at the right price, with an accessible enough UI, the iPod could face a serious challenge. It’s still very early..