FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, March 07, 2005

Music: The Newest Cell Phone Feature

Cell phones with cameras and video are soooo 2004. This year's hot phone models have digital music capability, and are compatible with online music services.

Nokia has announced support for Windows Media and a partnership with online music vendor Loudeye, while Motorola is preparing to launch an iTunes-compatible phone. The Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), meanwhile, is preparing version 2.0 of its interoperable digital rights management (DRM) standard, allowing music libraries to be shared among different handsets. For instance, if you carry one phone for work and another for personal use -- even if the phones are different makes -- you can use both to access your OMA-compatible music library. And because the music library doesn't reside on the phones themselves, the library is portable and can be transferred when you upgrade or switch phones. The OMA DRM standard will also allow cell phone users to forward songs to their friends, giving them the option of purchasing those songs.

Obviously, there are serious implications here for the iPod and other digital music players. Why buy an MP3 player when you can get one integrated in your cell phone? Plus, the capability of file sharing and networking has the potential to make these devices exponentially more useful than non-networked players.

POSTSCRIPT: Alexander Payne posts an amusing story about using iTunes library sharing as a "digital wingman."

Sources: C|Net Asia, unmediated