Racing for the First Music Phone

Sanyo MM-5600 Music-Player Cell PhoneMajor players are waging a war on the battle field that is cellular phone music player convergence. Music-playing phones were announced by cell phone manufacturers Sendo, Sprint and Sanyo, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia at the 3GSM World Congress.

Sprint and Sanyo's Sprint PCS Vision(SM) Multimedia Phone MM-5600 will already be available in mid-March. The remaining entrants form a line immediately after. Sendo's X2 Smartphone will launch in April. Sony Walkman, Motorola iRadio, and Nokia/Microsoft will all launch their products before the end of 2005.

WirelessIQ explains that greater importance will reside in the features of the devices, rather than in their launch date:

The race to be first in mobile phone music innovation may prove to be only an inconsequential and short sprint, say analysts. Once the first phones are released, the competition will center on features like music playback in multiple formats rather than brand loyalty or which came out first.

Personally, I cannot wait for wireless internet radio, hence my preference for Motorola iRadio.

Two market segments seem to be emerging, though a third feature set may become the biggest factor in tipping market penetration:

[IDC analyst Lewis Ward] added there will be two main aspects of the market: single track downloads and digital radio. The company likely to see the most adoption will be the one that capitalizes on the way that phones are becoming small social-network computers.

If that last statement proves true, many players will direct their radars towards Musicgremlin, one of the few service providers differentiating themselves with said social networking features in their Wi-Fi based solution.

« iRadio, Walkman, Nokia...Music Going Mobile | Main | MusicGremlin Completes Series B Funding »

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