Technology Nov 2007
Mobile media madness
Multimedia on the move
We’ve come a long
way from the ‘old school’ portable CD and Walkman to slimline,
fashionable pocket sized media players; now there’s a battle on to see
who survives the next transition to TV receiver, games console and
broadband connected communications device.
While the market was flooded with options in 2006 a maturing of vendor products and consumer understanding has seen a move away from shonky imports and price, to quality, capacity and clarity. And the design teams have obviously been hard at work with more appealing, simpler to operate devices now in evidence.
According to Roy Morgan Research the number of New Zealanders with
mobile media players nearly tripled from 14 percent in April this year
to 30 percent in August. Major players vying for position include Apple,
Creative, SanDisk, Genius, Samsung, Kingston, iRiver, Sony, Philips and
Higher end models with internal hard disk capacity stretch out to 30Gb - 160Gb ($400 - $600). Apple’s latest entry is the wifi enabled, touch screen-based iTouch, with a 3.5inch widescreen for better movie and photo display.
LG Electronics Touch
Me player is geared for movies, music in
.wav and .wma formats, has
an FM radio and easy
access voice recorder plus built-in Flash games. Everything is
accessible literally at your fingertips from a 2.4 inch, full color LCD
screen and it’s protected in a black brushed case with aluminum finish.
It comes in two models with 2Gb ($299) and 4Gb ($379).
In the smartphone market there’s also huge activity with Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Motorola and LG all pushing the boundaries. In the mix is Telecom, and its exclusive arrangement with Okta for a touch screen phone running Microsoft’s Mobile Windows 6.0, allowing users to surf the web, send and receive emails, chat on Instant Messenger and send files. The $800 touch screen-based Okta Touch features a 2Mpxl camera, a slot for a 2Gb microSD card and synchronises with Microsoft’s Outlook contact and calendar functions.
More powerful devices that further blur the distinction between phone, personal digital assistant, camera and media player will continue to lift customer expectations. Apple’s much hyped iPhone for example and Hewlett Packard’s new phones that converge the capabilities of its iPAQ handheld computer with larger keyboards, GPS navigation, wifi and broadband connectivity. Even Google is building its own mobile device.
media watchers believe combination phones may eventually win the battle
over portable music and video players. Nokia sold more music phones than
Apple sold iPods worldwide over the past year and Apple, hedging its
bets with iTunes, iPod players and its new iPhone, may be pointing the
way forward for the mobile market.
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