Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

the only way to beat an ipod... is to be an ipod


Reading the news of Samsung's announcement of the first 5-megapixel cameraphone brought back some questions I had over media in current smartphones. I've had a SonyEricsson p900 for more than two months now, and this I can say with certainty: media center, this phone ain't (yet).

Considering, then, that the P900 is most definitely at the high-end of smartphones, it would be reasonable to say (even accounting for the differences) that in terms of media storage, display, and management, smartphones in general aren't there yet either.

Why, oh, why, do I make a statement that will surely enrage smartphone fans? :-)

Okay, I'll correct the statement a little bit. Against dedicated devices, smartphones still have a ways to go. As ocassional-use devices they are excellent, and hopefully they'll grow to more than that in some areas, but for day-to-day use they are still lagging behind dedicated devices.

Some of my reasons:

  • Poor data sync: Most smartphones today have poor data synchronization mechanisms: cumbersome, slow, erratic. Until switching, say, one playlist for another in a phone is a one-click affair (or until phones get an iPod's memory) they won't be able to out-play the pure music/media players. P900 synchronization, for example, uses serial-bus speeds--you don't want to know how long it takes to upload a single MP3 song, let alone an entire album. Bluetooth connectivity in particular is quite the random affair, particularly phone-to-PC.
  • Speed/Navigation/Resolution: Scrolling through pictures on smartphones is slow. Scrolling through songs is slow. Switching functions is slow. Camera resolution is generally crappy. Audio/Video quality suffers. Result: they are good for ocassional use, rather than "first-device" use. Speed and resolution, however, are easier (and upcoming) fixes than navigation (i.e., usability), as the release of the above-mentioned Samsung phone demonstrates.
  • Poor built-in media players: this really applies to music more than anything else, although I still enjoy more flipping through pictures on my digital camera than on my P900. Or, for example, switching through songs on the P900's media player without looking at the screen is an invitation to disaster (although I really like the scroll-wheel) while any respectable media players can be used "blind" without a problem.
  • Stability: The final straw. I can't tell you how many times my P900 crashed while switching between the camera and other apps (for example, when a phone call arrived and it was in camera mode). While other phones might be more stable in terms of crashes, many of the current phones have issues with memory that requires restarting the phone or getting a memory management application, or both.
So. I think that big strides have been taken recently, and no doubt more will be taken in the future. For the moment, the only way to beat an ipod... is to be an ipod. :)

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on October 26 2004 at 7:24 PM

Copyright © Diego Doval 2002-2011.
Powered by
Movable Type 4.37