Monday, October 7, 2013

Do we really need PMPs and iPods anymore?

Originally Published: September 27, 2011
On Monday over at Akiba, I wrote about Samsung unveiling its new PMPs (portable media players) for the U.S. market. While the Samsung Galaxy Player 5.0 and 4.0 look impressive and come with moderately impressive specs, it got me wondering, is there really even a market for these anymore?
Both players weigh in at 6.4 and 4.2 ounces, respectively, and both are powered by Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread and include 802.11b/g/n, WVGA Super Clear LCDs (800 x 480), Bluetooth 3.0, 8GB of onboard storage, a microSD expansion slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, voice recorder, mini-USB connectivity, front and rear cameras and support for Sammy’s Media Hub content service, but are really nothing more than a Samsung Galaxy S without the phone component and are more competition to Apple’s iPod Touch, nothing more than an iPhone without the phone capabilities. Since most people have either an iPhone or some other smartphone, it seems like we’re moving away from the age of having a separate media player to carry around with us when our phones can already do that and more.
I’ll argue that you could say, well I don’t want to get my son/daughter a smartphone with a data plan, I’d rather get this, but you know in a couple years you’ll be buying them the iPhone 6 or 7, plus what 10 year old doesn’t already have a cell phone (my cousin who is about 10 years old already has both a cell phone and an iPod Touch). Also, there have even been rumors of an iPod coming out with 3G capabilities, so this market or WiFi-only devices are bound to die. I’ll go into WiFi vs. 3G devices in another post in the future though.
Anyway, although I think the Galaxy Player a sexy (yes, I said it) device and I’m sure I’d use it if I was given one, but I already have an Android phone and an iPad, so where does this device fit in the mix?  I can use my phone for music, movies and social networking while on the go, and if I’m lounging around the house or in a coffee shop and want to do the same thing, I can easily pull out my tablet if I want a larger screen.
This then leads me to my next and final point. When will we get to the point where our smartphone/PMP/tablet are one in the same? Years ago everyone wanted their phones to be ultra-small and portable and in recent years they’ve only gotten bigger. The iPhone 4 only has a 3.5-inch screen and we are still calling the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab “a tablet.” When the Dell Streak came out with it’s 5-inch screen, it didn’t sell that well. Maybe it was a combination of the hardware and software, but I also feel many people thought it was too big. Recently Samsung unveiled its Galaxy Note, a smartphone with a 5.3-inch screen and a stylus that can be tucked away, surely starting to blur the line between smartphone and tablet. It’s being well received too, so either Sammy did something else right or the market is changing. We started at both ends of the size spectrum and it seems like we’re going to eventually meet right in the middle. I believe its all been thanks to devices like the Motorola Droid X and Galaxy S devices that are pushing these limits.
With these advancements being made in the tech industry, what is going to happen to those 10-inch tablets in the future if everyone wants something that is small enough to be extremely portable, yet large enough to get real work done on?
I can’t wait to find out, but the way things are headed, I foresee some large smartphones or small tablets in the future, all 4G/5G/6G connected and able to make phone calls, that will also be in the hands of every adult and child.

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