how to distract yourself from frustration moments on camp

I had a bit of frustrated moment this evening as we tried to plan tomorrow’s travels into Macquarie Centre by car… because the campsite manager preferred us to use our cars rather than pay for a bus. In the end, it got so incredibly difficult to organise the logistics of it, and at 11pm, I threw my hands up in the air and said, “we’ll sort it tomorrow!” and came here to my room to sit and breathe… :)

Anyway, it’s a long story that I needn’t bore you with. Instead, I think it would be better for me to bore you with a good handful of paragraphs on music and mobile phones – my two loves, really.

So… I just came across this article from smh – its headline was Musical mobiles take aim at iPod. Now, almost any article in passing that mentions mobile phones in the title is guaranteed to draw me to read it. However, mobiles replacing MP3 players (the iPod will be my example because it’s what I use – but feel free to subsitute for your MP3 player of choice) has always been something I’m so-so about. Certainly at the moment, I’m very sure that mobile phones are not even close to the standard that most iPodphiles would accept as a replacement for their beloved device.

My first qualm is that, to my knowledge, no mobile phone currently available in Australia has a 3.5mm headphone jack as a standard feature of the phone. I would love to be corrected though. Some manufactures (Nokia, as an example) ship adapters for their phones to plug headphones in. But that means you have to make sure you have that with you all the time – not really handy, personal, or easy. And the second major point is much more subjective… but the “media player” software in the majority of handsets is just ugly, hard to use, and slow.

A third and fourth point that just crossed my mind too: thirdly, most of the online music purchasing in this country, nay, worldwide, goes on via iTunes Music Store. Currently, I believe that only one handset can play iTMS music, and that handset is the iPhone. Yes, a lot of iTMS music is now DRM free, but not all of it. And again, as a user, a good chunk of my music is bought from iTMS and I don’t want to leave that behind at my desk and not be able to load it up onto my phone.

Fourth point is the pretty shocking amount of memory that mobile phones come with – most are 1 or 2GB. Nokia pushed the boundaries with an 8GB phone. Cool… for a top-of-the-range, $1000+ phone, that’s on par with the $300 and bottom-of-the-range iPod, and only 156GB short of the top-of-the-range, $800 iPod. Hmmm… something’s a miss there if they want to try and get me to ditch my iPod.

So at this point, and mainly because of the above three points, no mobile phone – even Sony Ericsson’s much talked about and hyped Walkman series of phones – have even remotely enticed me to think about getting rid of my iPod. And I’m all for convergence – I work for a telecommunications company!

At this point I think it’s important to note that I’m only taking into account mobile phones that are currently available in Australia. There are actually a lot of fantastic handsets out there that beat my points above and would potentially change my mind. But Australia is just a little bit smaller than America, and so we get these wonderfully feature-packed handsets a lot later than the rest of the world – if ever. And the bottom line is that, yes, they may be available to purchase from a tech store, or from eBay, but the fact is that the majority of mobile phone handset purchasers do not pay $800 upfront for their phone – they pay $0 for their phone and are quite happy to sit on a 24mth contract with their provider of choice. So that also means that the phones need to not only be available in Australia, but also available on subsidised phone plans. And that range of handsets is what I am taking into account.

After saying all that, there are some exciting things that come out of the smh article that started me writing and thinking about all this:

  • Motorola are again trying to break into that music phone market with something that looks pretty cool – it’s the pictured one. I do like the “Song ID” feature he points out on the phone… but sorry Ian, Sony Ericsson have already been doing that for some time, and it’s actually on my current phone. The scrolly-wheel type feature looks sweet, and there’s a possibility that this Moto handset could sync with iTunes, as its last music-type handset did.
  • Nokia are where the excitement lies though, with their music store that you buy a yearly subscription to, and then can get as much music as you like. However, I can’t help being a little worried about how many record companies will actually be available on such a service in Australia – look how long it took iTunes to get up and running, and then we’re still paying by the track.

Bottom line is that things look great – but if you live in America. Sorry, I can’t help but be just a little cynical in summary about this article. Yes, these are services and phones that are talked about being released in Australia this year – but the questions in my mind remain:

  • Will there be a 3.5mm headphone jack on the device?
  • How much memory will come built into the phone?
  • What is the extent of music that will be available in Nokia’s music store?
  • Will they play iTunes’ music? (silly question, but it’s an important point for me).

Now that I have used almost all of my laptop battery writing that, and I’m now feeling quite tired and relaxed from this evening’s frustration… I think i shall go to sleep :)

  1. B’s avatar

    It’s good to know when it’s time to take a break from a problem and come back to it – only just read this so I hope you all found/will find the solution that God had lined up and got/get to it in a good way. Have, am and will be praying.

    With the iPhone all the rest have had to step up their game and will continue to do so.

    As for the subscription model for music – obviously it’s cheaper than buying everything you want to listen to – if you love lots of music – but the downside is you pay that forever – once you stop paying you stop listening – which I don’t rekon is such a great deal. But like i said – it probably works out much cheaper in the long run and means you can listen to stuff you normally pay for.

    Does the subscription also work on a computer or is the phone the only device?

    It was good to be reminded that our phone purchasing model is quite different to the US and so there will be a delay to getting the phones here. In fact considering what a small market we are it is pretty amazing that things get here as quick as they do.

  2. howie’s avatar

    I read a thing today that said in the UK the iphone is avaialbe only on monthly plans $100 or up. no chance of me getting one on my $49 cap :(

  3. Anonymous’s avatar

    i work for OD2 – the company Nokia bought to launch their music stores. we have over 2 million tracks available but in terms of australian content we have the same as the ninemsn store which we have just closed. Nokia Music Australia is due to launch by June 08 so keep your eyes peeled. In terms of the ‘comes with music’ subscription i’m not sure when that will go live but we have Universal signed up and are currently in negoriations with the other majors so there will be plenty of content available.

  4. Anonymous’s avatar

    with the ‘comes with music’ it is a year long subscription and you keep the music once the subscription is finished (unlike other services)

    it is also on the pc as well as mobile

  5. Geoff’s avatar

    For the moment I am happy for a phone to be a phone, a diary to be a diary, a TV to be a TV and an Ipod to be an Ipod. There is so much effort going in to try an make one machine do all of the above. I don’t want to buy something that does things I don’t want. I DON’T want to watch cricket or anything on a 5 cm square screen and I certainly don’t want to carry a wide screen plasma tv around in my shirt pocket. I also don’t care how many pixels can be built into a phone camera, unless I can screw my Polaroid filter on somewhere I’ll use a real camera thanks. Someone should try drawing a cartoon of a guy using his MM (Multi-Machine) to call a friend while watching the cricket on the mini wide screen while taking a pic through the polariod lens whilst music plays in the background and he checks his diary to meet with the friend on the phone tomorrow and all this while negotiating heavy traffic on the way home from work!!!


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