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Handhelds Hardware

Why Have PDAs Failed In The iPod Era? 623

mikejz84 writes "As the owner of a PocketPC PDA I am a very happy camper, with wifi internet access, Skype Voip, video playback, and of course the ubiquitous mp3 playback. In an era were everyone seems to talk about the Video iPod, and the next generation of mobile devices, it leaves me wondering - I already have all those abilities in a PDA that costs about as much as an iPod. My question for Slashdot: Given that modern PDAs have almost all the functionality of these separate devices, how has Palm and Microsoft/PocketPC developers failed in making PDAs a force in this new era of portable media devices? It is the poor marketing, bad media apps, public perception, or do people simply not want an all-in-one for mobile media?"
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Why Have PDAs Failed In The iPod Era?

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  • by kensai ( 139597 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @06:54PM (#13848843) Homepage
    the poor marketing ... BINGO.
    bad media apps ... BINGO.
    public perception ... BINGO.
    do people simply not want an all-in-one for mobile media ... BINGO.
    • by jtwJGuevara ( 749094 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @06:58PM (#13848892)
      do people simply not want an all-in-one for mobile media ... BINGO.

      This might comparing be apples to oranges, but if this were true, then why does virtually everyone cell phone on the market come with so much more functionality than what a phone should ever be used for: pictures, video games, music, text messaging, etc. etc.

      • by CountBrass ( 590228 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:11PM (#13848987)
        Because mobile phone makers need to you to keep buying new phones otherwise they go bust.

        My phone is a pda, has games, a camera, can browse the web. None of which I want, need nor use.

        In contrast it often hangs (Windows Mobile so no surprise) and I have to take the battery out. When trying to answer calls it sometimes declares there was an error answering the call!?! And sometimes it simply doesnt ring/vibrate when someone calls me.

        Why can't I buy *just a phone*? The original Motorola V (not the current bloated monster) and the Nokia 2110 were pretty much the perfect mobile phones: it's all been downhill since then.

        • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:18PM (#13849045) Homepage
          I think most phones have PDAs, they all suck. Few of them sync to your computer, and typing stuff in on the number pad is rediculous. The camera functions are equally bad. The only way to get the pictures off sometimes is to email them to yourself, and then they charge you for the bandwidth.
          • by usrusr ( 654450 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @08:15PM (#13849464) Homepage Journal
            if you really need an organizer so much that you carry one around all day then a pda (or trusty old pack of dead tree) is certainly the best for you. but there are enough people who don't need the functionality enough to justify all that carrying stuff around business.

            it was a mistake (but a somewhat understandable one) how mobile phone makers used to target the first phones with organizer functionality at the businessman, he will always use the real thing. but in the mainstream market they do a great job at filling the gap between not having an organizer system at all and carrying around a second device, complete with all the hassle of keeping batteries charged, setting quiet mode during meeting etc. in the end it's all software running on some microcontroller anyway, technically it does not make much difference wether you stick gsm on a pda or slowly enable the phones to do the pda's job.

            wait, there's exactly one difference (or two, considering the "cellular network provider pays for the phone" issue mentioned elsewhere):

            pda are completely associated only with work by everyone exept the most die-hard geek while phones are also seen as a way to stay in touch with friends and family etc, so ironically the _p_da end up being perceived as much less personal than a phone.
            people (those not on /.) generally tend to have trouble accepting electronics invading more and more of their everyday life, i think said more personal connection to their phones (or, thinking of the ipod, their personal music collection) could well be the means by which new applications sneak into people's lives that would fail coming in a seperate device like a pda, where the less liked work functionality stands in the focus while leisure functions come second.

            ps: now one could speculate about how many of those "i want a phone that phones and nothing more" are people who are called more frequently by their boss/customers than by friends/family ;-)

            • What about the trendiness factor? If you have an iPod, you're cool.

              And, girls get out of class, and half of them whip out their phones for a quick chat between classes. Most of them have trouble operating a PC. What would they do with a PDA?

              Me? I don't leave the house (besides work and school) enough to warrant carrying a very breakable, very expensive object around with me.
              I'd rather drag along a GBA than a PDA. Better games, I'm never around a WiFi connection anyway, and I don't need to br
              • by Phaid ( 938 ) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @06:28AM (#13851561) Homepage
                When you make a comment like:

                And, girls get out of class, and half of them whip out their phones for a quick chat between classes. Most of them have trouble operating a PC. What would they do with a PDA?

                It becomes obvious to the point of redundancy to say:

                Me? I don't leave the house (besides work and school) enough
        • by Cali Thalen ( 627449 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:28PM (#13849130) Homepage
          Why can't I buy *just a phone*?

          There's a *bingo*.

          Part of the appeal of the IPods is that they do what they do *well*. Interface, and sound quality. Now I'm not sure how they made it so that every kid under the age of 30 *has* to have one...that's another story.

          Handheld computers just don't manage that simple job. They are sub-par computers with sub-par games and sub-par web browsing and some do a sub-par job of displaying video and playing songs. Yummy, just what I want...

          I haven't replaced my old Samsung SCH3500 phone because few phones available today do a better job doing the things I *want* a phone for...reception, battery life, sound quality. I'd replace the phone every 6 months if they came up with phones that were better at being a *phone*.

          In several respects, that's one of the reasons things are the way they are. Apple has always understood what the customer wanted (well, mostly anyway). It's just too bad they can't do it at a better price, or they'd be a frightening corporation...
          • by bmgoau ( 801508 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @08:28PM (#13849525) Homepage
            Give me a 20 gigabyte + PDA, with media quality and feature ease of use on par with the ipod, with an 8 hour plus batter life at the same price as todays ipod and i, and i suspect many others, would buy it in a second.

            Simply put, PDA's lack the battery life and storage capabilities of the ipod.

            This relates to all portable devices with the exception of the ipod. Manufacturers keep adding more and more powerhungry and ill devised features to PDA' and Phones like video playback and camera support but always fail in two aspects:

            The initial quality of the feature developed is horrible
            They forget to upgrade the systems which these features need to be avaliable, which means phone and PDA hardware.

            The problem is space, no more no less, all this media, includeing thousands of songs, takes space, and consumers are not happy that they have to buy seperate memory for their device which is inferior to the built in memory of the ipod 20 fold.

            Take one of my family member for example, who recently bought a $400 camera, but in the process noticed that an increaseing amount of digital cameras do not include out of the box memory. Where was the marketing team on that decision. Surely they think if the dont include memory, consumers will be inclined to buy seperate memory, but what they forget is that consumers have the choice of the one with or without memory. The choice is clear.

            So to make it clear: PDA's fail because they have the features (poorly developed) but not the infrastructure.

            Give me a PocketPC PDA, with an IBM or Toshiba 20 gig microdrive, with a battery that not only promises but actually has an 8 hour+ basttery life in media playback, with the same price as the ipod and i would litteraly trash my ipod and buy it right now.

            But why are things the way that are?

            I suspect a features race between PDA's phones and media playback devices has left PDA's mortally wounded. I suspect marketing kept pushing for more features, not better features, and never gave one ounce of their time to the engenieers crying out in horror at the strain being put on backward technology, only to realise their jobs redundancy and a lack of demand from a detached marketing department for better hardware.

            Of course it may be a subject of the limits of todays technology, but again, not enough work is being put on the desks of hardware developers to make better storage and battery devices. Instead all the work is landing on the desks of software developers who lie awake at night, and pull out their hair, knowing full well they cannot possibly write a fully functional feature set with such hardware constraints.

            Consumers arnt stupid, esspecially when the average teenager has limited funds, and has to make every cent count. Consumers know the PDA only has 32 meg out of the box, and the similar priced ipod has 60,000 meg.

            Give me a 20 gig+, 8 hour+ battery (music playback), and fully developed programs (that means everything from a better UI to more effeciency) on a PDA for the same price as an ipod.

            Another great example is phones, where half asses features like camera's and operating system features (video, music) are more focused on than actually making a better fucking phone. I say work on the technology until its perfected, then implement these powerhungry features once the phone itself has been perfected.
            • by AndyElf ( 23331 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @11:30PM (#13850440) Homepage
              Much of what you say is, indeed, spot on. I had a knee-jerk reaction after reading the question posed -- the guy must be kiddin': iPods in the same price range as a decent PDA come with at least (now) 40 gigs of space, not measly 128/256MBs like your standard-issue PDA. Sure, you can expand it by plugging an SD or MMC card -- but not by much, not even into the region of a Nano.

              I always find it so very amusing that for its time Palm IIIx was awesome -- with only 8MBs (eight!) it could do everything that my T5 can, sans browse the web (and I could do even that in an off-line mode had I *really* wanted to). But T5 has much more capable CPU (Dragonball 33MHz vs. XScale 416MHz), much more memory, much bigger screen -- why can't I get as much out of it?! And don't even get me started on reliability of IIIx vs. T5.

              And then my iPod -- it does not try to do much more than it is designed for -- a music player (ok, now also a video player -- but I think the vPod was a bad move). It does have features to read books, store my phonebook/addresses and a basic calendaring thingy, yet these are there only because there is a spare place on that 80Gb hard drive, not like the case of a T5 with a bloody RealPlayer that sucks up the place I personally would have rather used to put TPCMP on.

              Take another specially targetted device: BlackBerry. I used to think they were a fad -- who needs that tiny little box with tiny buttons and a barely readable screen to look at the emails in the wee hour of the night? I still think that people punching BB keys any time they have at least 30 seconds look ridiculous. However, now that I used one I can concede -- for the task it was designed for (instant email wherever you go) it is *very* capable. Much more so than Palm or PocketPC -- that tiny little keyboard makes a lot of difference. Starngely enough I would feel much more inclined to write a longer piece out on my Palm with a stilos, rather than on a Blackberry, yet it is mostly because longer piece is likely to be written somewhere wher I can sit and hold a Palm with *two* hands, while a brief reply to a business email on a BlackBerry can be done on the run and with just one hand.

              And then -- all singing, all dancing cell phones. All these jokes of uber appliance that in many cases can't do their main task right... Why building in an MP3 player with some cool visual effects on a tiny 1" screen? To ensure that your little pocket monster that barely lasts a day without a recharge drains itself of all the juice by the time you get to work?
              • And then my iPod -- it does not try to do much more than it is designed for -- a music player (ok, now also a video player -- but I think the vPod was a bad move).

                I've seen a few people say this, and I really don't understand it. Could someone explain? As I see it, the new iPod has increased battery life, it's a bit thinner and has a little larger display. Beyond that, it's the exact same device it's always been and functions the exact same way it always has -- except that it'll play some video now.

                I pe

                • Apple's gamble (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by MisterSquid ( 231834 )

                  As I see it, the new iPod has increased battery life, it's a bit thinner and has a little larger display. Beyond that, it's the exact same device it's always been and functions the exact same way it always has -- except that it'll play some video now.

                  You're right, in theory. The iPod added video capability without increasing the price or changing the basic functionality of the ipod. Some things, of course are changed, small things like no transfer over FW (Apple has glitchy USB 2.0 support on some machi

              • I always find it so very amusing that for its time Palm IIIx was awesome -- with only 8MBs (eight!) it could do everything that my T5 can, sans browse the web (and I could do even that in an off-line mode had I *really* wanted to). But T5 has much more capable CPU (Dragonball 33MHz vs. XScale 416MHz), much more memory, much bigger screen -- why can't I get as much out of it?! And don't even get me started on reliability of IIIx vs. T5.

                I don't recall being able to play video files or mp3s on a IIIx. Or v

          • Part of the appeal of the IPods is that they do what they do *well*.

            That's what people said about Palm. And I agree (or used to). Palm's core appeal was always as a storage device and people have always clamored for more memory on them. Palm's mistake is that they did add a 20GB HD and MP3 syncing at the right moment. They assumed that people would prefer realtime apps like telephone being shoehorned into that focused, nonrealtime environment of offline reference (contacts, reference documents, etc.).

            So Pal
          • by wwwillem ( 253720 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @09:59PM (#13850029) Homepage
            Part of the appeal of the IPods is that they do what they do *well*.

            Which is similar to why Google more or less wiped out Yahoo in searching. At the time, Yahoo was seen as the searching site that couldn't been beaten. Although we suffered their banners and other stuff. Google came and did nothing but searching, searching and searching, with a home page of only a few kilobytes. And even with textual advertising of only a few bytes. In short, the features were limited, but they did them well !!!

            So, I'm truly convinced that when there is a company (history tells that this will be a new starter) that develops a cellphone with a voice quality and battery life that doesn't let me say from the start "shall I call you back on a landline", they will have a gold-mine. Sidenote: when you think currt cellphone sound quality is 'good enough', think for a second why everybody is shouting into their cell phones so loud that they anoy everybody around them.

            It's all about KISS !!!

            • Going full circle.. remember dejanews? It did usenet -> web, and did it well. Everyone used it.

              Then a bunch of marketing execs got together and said "Everyone's looking at our site! I know... let's rename it to a 'portal', fill it with advertising and all sorts of extra features. Oh, and get rid of those boring news pages."

              They went bust. Very fast (within 6 months IIRC).

              google bought up the remains and now do what dejanews did originally... and they're very successful at it.
            • by pthisis ( 27352 ) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @02:11AM (#13850950) Homepage Journal
              Which is similar to why Google more or less wiped out Yahoo in searching. At the time, Yahoo was seen as the searching site that couldn't been beaten

              Basic point is right, but this seems revisionist; Yahoo was mainly a categorized set of links (like with a halfassed search engine tacked on as an afterthought. Indeed, at the outset it didn't even have a search engine--and even after adding one, it was never really a search engine back then. Altavista was the "preferred" search engine at the time (having replaced Lycos when Lycos decided to go in the portal direction).

              But yeah, Google came on the scene and did just searching, and did it better than Altavista and Lycos at a time when they had lost the search focus and were adding relatively crappy portal features instead of improving search.
          • Part of the appeal of the IPods is that they do what they do *well*. Interface, and sound quality.

            Exactly. Most people don't feel comfortable around complicated stuff like PDAs, but they knew how to operate their radios, stereo equipment, car radio, walkman, discman etc... They don't have to "start an application" to play their music, they turn their *audio equipment* on. They have a simple interface: play, pause, stop, next, previous, fast forward, rewind and volume. That's all they really need, so the

        • Why can't I buy *just a phone*?

          Eh? You still can. Or at least, you still can here in Australia. Very cheaply, too - I can pick up a pre-paid phone compatible with my current network for $79 Au, which has a monochrome screen and a speaker phone. There's probably cheaper available too, but I haven't looked into it much since my current phone, which is nearly four years old now, still works well. That's of course another option - you don't actually need to buy a new phone, you know - the old ones still wo
      • by ciroknight ( 601098 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:14PM (#13849011)
        Because they're mainly features to sell the device.

        Picture messaging is gimmicky, but some people actually find it useful. And since it's still a telephony/communications tool, it makes sense to embed it into a cellphone. Video games, never understood it myself, but some people enjoy playing the games on the diminutive screen, in waiting rooms, elevators, etc. Text messaging; again, it's very inline with what a cellphone's intended purpose is to be - to help people communicate while on the move. Instead of having to communicate verbally, you can write the message and send it, thus avoiding distburbing classes, and talking about subjects you otherwise wouldn't be able to verbally.

        I think the matra should be "The Spirit of the Device". What is the devices intended purpose? How can we make that purpose better, how can we expand upon the product with similar purposes to broaden its use for people who otherwise wouldn't buy our product? (on that note; I've seen deaf people use cellphones. Text Messaging is a definite boon). In the case of a PDA, the spirit just isn't there; a PDA is a catchall device. In a lot of minds, "a solution looking for a problem". If you can find a use for it, you'd buy it, but many simply can't find a use for it. Hell, I recieved a PDA as a re-gift from a friend; "I can't figure out how to use and even if I did I doubt I'd be able to find a use for it".
      • by lewp ( 95638 ) * on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:14PM (#13849012) Journal
        Because we do want those features, we just want them executed properly. In consumer electronics, as in everywhere else, the first few iterations of any new product are almost universally shit.

        I'd drop my RAZR's camera in a second if it'd mean a smaller and lighter phone, but only because the camera on it sucks so badly I end up carrying around my little Canon S505 most everywhere. When they put 3+MP cameras with decent AF in phones, I won't do that anymore, and we'll be one step closer to convergence.

        Likewise, when they give me a 20+gig PDA with the size and style of an iPod, with a large screen, the horsepower to play movies, and that lasts 8+ hours on a single charge, I'll be all over it.
      • 1) Because people are going to carry a cell phone anyway, and it's pretty hard to find one that doesn't come with a thousand superfluous extras. Having them there doesn't mean people use them, all, though, whereas you wouldn't buy a PDA unless you did have a use for most of what it does.

        2) Phone companies pay a large proportion of the actual device cost as a way of attracting customers. IMO most popular phones would have a lot less in the way of in-built extras if customers had to pay the full retail cost,
      • by Henk Poley ( 308046 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:20PM (#13849062) Homepage
        Mobilephones are targeted at a minority group with a strong voice. This group loves "cool"; cool means: change/difference, which implies featuritis.

        It is that simple ;-)
    • by lewp ( 95638 ) *
      Add to this that they're pretty much universally ugly (note that the iPod sells millions while Rios rot on the shelves), and that I have yet to see one with decent capacity (outside of carrying around a pocket full of CF cards).

      Dell has deals on their Axims that put them down into the same price range as the iPods, and the WIFI and GPS features (on top of intrinsic hackability of the systems themselves) appeal to me greatly. I still don't own one, though, and I have 3 iPods (regular, mini, nano).
    • by ciroknight ( 601098 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:07PM (#13848953)
      Device Flexibility: bingo.

      PDAs might be cool toys, they do a lot that a PC can do, and you can carry it in your pocket. Pretty cool eh? But when it comes down to it, what does the device actually do? Hard to define; it can do calendars, it can do media playback, it can do telephony, it can do internet-related tasks. But on the overall, it's a very obscure device.

      With the iPod, it's pretty clear what it does. It plays music. Now, it does do other things; it can watch movies, it can view pictures, it can broadcast music on an FM frequency, it can offload pictures from your digital camera, it can record class notes, it can keep your address book, notes, song lyrics. But these things are bonuses; the iPod's intention is to be the best damned music player on the market, and it nails that motive.

      Now, don't think I hate PDAs; I love palm, I own a Treo 600 and a Palm m130 personally, but I almost never use them anymore. I have found that I'm distracted by a device that does too much, and isn't particularly good at anything that it's supposed to do. When I'm writing notes, I find a pencil and a piece of paper faster. When I'm trying to make a call, the Treo is ackward to hold and often lacks reception compared to my Nokia. And when I'm trying to browse forums, I find the screen's resolution prohibitive and just go and find a dumb terminal somewhere.

      Give the PDA something to do, and you'll see people who need it to do that purpose, buy it. Instead of bundling everything and the kitchen sink, give it a very simple task, and expand upon the device in a way that's non-destructive to the device's original intent.
      • Agreed. My iPaq PDA has degenerated into being a glorified ebook reader.
      • ....I have found that I'm distracted by a device that does too much, and isn't particularly good at anything that it's supposed to do.....

        In so much of life there is specalization. Think of how many kinds of medical practitioners there are, each specializing in a different part of the body. I wouldn't want a general family doctor to do open heart surgery on me, but a good surgeon who does heart surgery only, every day.

        It is like that in tecnological devices also. In a phone, I want one that does that really
    • I think the poor marketing has it all summed up. The Palm Lifedrive looks like it could be a real iPod killer. It can play music, video, view images, has wifi, bluetooth, 4 Gigs of space, which can't hold your entire collection, but easily holds enough data to last you for a good vacation, as well as all the nice PDA functions. Its amazing how useful something like this could be, and how much better it would be to have a device like this than an iPod. Yet they don't market it, don't let people know how
    • by sniggly ( 216454 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:31PM (#13849168) Journal
      That still leaves the question how is it possible that apple manages to be so cool that everyone wants what they make? Apple is the only computer company that understands fashion like some (swedish) car manufacturers and fashion companies do, and manage to appeal to a very wide audience.

      It doesn't seem all that hard to do but it's impossible for a company like Dell or HP to position itself as a fashion company. Nobody walks around proudly with a Dell laptop or Axim because the brand is about cheap and mass produced.

      Also I think apple managed to place the ipod outside of the perceived complexity of computer appliances. It isn't simple because you do need a computer, internet savvy, etc to get the thing loaded with songs. Loading songs onto an axim is not much more complex. If I had my mom do either one she'd be vexed either way.

      It's also got a lot to do with leadership and vision, It's almost as if Jobs is a magician that can control how people see things and influences them strongly.

      4 years ago I got a powerbook g4 (400mhz) with osx on it and after some initial trouble with the original osx it's stil one of my favourite computers - without being able to pinpoint the why of it, it just rocks. It's like driving around in an old saab, just a very weird piece of marketing trickery, mass delusion or just plain quality...
  • Simple (Score:2, Troll)

    Because I don't need or care for a PDA.
    • Exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sterno ( 16320 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:11PM (#13848988) Homepage
      The fact of the matter is that there are very few people who really need PDA's. If they can get a phone that has PDA features without paying a lot more, they'll take it. But as a standalone device, the PDA is the jack of all trades master of none.

      If you take a straight up pocket PC, you can:

      -Make phone calls
      -Listen to music
      -Schedule appointments
      -Send e-mail
      -Watch movies

      But how many of those tasks is it really exceptional at? It's great for keeping track of a calendar and corporations are the biggest buyer of PDA's for that reason. They set up a centralized meeting system and then hand out PDA's to everybody.

      It's not ideal for phone calls. I have a treo which is about as good of a compromise as you can get it and it's still a bit bulky for the average person. It'll fit in a pocket but it bulges quite a bit. You can listen to music but then you have storage space issues and the interfaces aren't nearly as good as what's on an ipod. You can send a small e-mail with ease but you need a laptop for real productivity. Movies... well, if you like watching movies on a 2 inch screen, more power to you and your optometrist.

      The niche that a PDA is trying to fill is deceptively difficult. Basically give people a computer that they can carry in their pocket all the time. There's practical limitations to how small you can make the display and keyboard before it becomes unusuable. The treo is the best compromise I've seen and by most phone standards it's huge.
  • Storage capacity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MadDog Bob-2 ( 139526 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @06:55PM (#13848852)

    Unless you sprung for extra storage, the space on your PDA is measured in tens of megabytes. On an iPod, it's measured in tens of gigabytes.

    • Flash memory is cheap, and most digital camera owners already have a few GB of the stuff.
    • I'm in agreement with this statement. I have both a pocketPC and a 40GB Ipod. I don't use the PocketPC that much, one because it's one of those HP IPAQ 5400's and is huge, and the other is because it doesn't hold much.
    • by adrianmonk ( 890071 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:39PM (#13849249)
      Unless you sprung for extra storage, the space on your PDA is measured in tens of megabytes. On an iPod, it's measured in tens of gigabytes.

      True in most cases. However, PDA manufacturers are starting to get the clue. It may be a little too late to capture much of the market, but just a few months ago, Palm [] introduced the LifeDrive [] which comes from the factory with a 4 GB hard drive. That is starting to be a decent amount of storage. In fact, it's sort of what a lot of manufacturers have realized is the sweet spot for a music device. (Unlike myself, lots of users apparently don't want to try to fit their whole music collection on their music player.)

      Now, here's the problem: the LifeDrive is priced at $499. That's basically double what you'd pay for the 4GB iPod nano model. Granted, the LifeDrive does a lot more, but the question is whether consumers need or want those things.

      The big problem here is probably just that PDA companies (at least Palm) aren't big enough players to make a profit on a cheap device. Apple can sell iPods for virtually no profit as a way of getting the iTunes Music Store off the ground, but a smaller company like Palm can't do that. Unless they can radically increase sales volume, they can't make a PDA with 4GB for much less than $499 and still make a profit. So, that makes the PDA a lot less competitive with a dedicated music player than it could be.

      Also, keep in mind that there are reasons why PDAs are more expensive to make. They have to have more RAM, faster processors, and (most importantly) a bigger screen than something like an iPod has. The screen on the Palm LifeDrive is 320x480 pixels and 16-bit color. Any music player's screen isn't anywhere close to that, and it doesn't need to be for a dedicated music player device. Even the new video iPod only has a 320x240 screen, which is half the resolution. Just like in laptops, a bigger screen will really cost you.

      • Re:Storage capacity (Score:3, Informative)

        by Alfwine ( 877863 )
        just a minor point, Apple's business model is to make money on the iPod not itunes. They just break even on iTunes. Their gross margin on nano is 50% and ipod is around 40%. Itunes is around 10%.
  • 40 Gb Hdd? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CDMA_Demo ( 841347 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @06:55PM (#13848853) Homepage

    It is the poor marketing, bad media apps, public perception, or do people simply not want an all-in-one for mobile media?

    iPod is just a glorified HDD which makes it important. Your PDA is a teeny weeny computer which makes it not-so-important. Plus,what is the biggest HDD you can put in it? Apple understands the low-profile-market better

  • by fredistheking ( 464407 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @06:55PM (#13848855)
    Most people just want to listen to music. Also show me a PDA with a 60GB drive.
    • Well, it's not 60GB, but I have managed to hook up a 20GB drive to my Zaurus SL-C860 with a homemade CF-IDE adaptor. The drive came courtesy of my Rio Riot MP3 player, since it decided to erupt in a cloud of smoke when I plugged it in once (fortunately only the power regulation section of the board was damaged; the drive was perfectly fine). When I don't feel like lugging that mess around, the 5GB microdrive from a Rio Carbon holds plenty enough music, video, games, and various other forms of entertainment.
  • Clue 1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Friday October 21, 2005 @06:55PM (#13848859) Homepage Journal
    Clue #1: Cellphones have become PDAs.
    • You have more pocketable PPCs with phone functionality which are more useful (they can download email on the move). Plus you have smartphones which aren't much bigger and sometimes the same size as ordinary phones.
    • Re:Clue 1 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jozer99 ( 693146 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:04PM (#13848935)
      Clue #1 Cellphones have become PDAs (3 day battery life) Clue #2 iPods have become PDAs (18 hour battery life) Clue #3 Laptops have become PDAs (my 3lb Centrino) (4 hour battery life) Clue #4 PDAs have become desktop computers (2-3 hour battery life)
  • Its the interface (Score:5, Insightful)

    by john_chr ( 700513 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @06:55PM (#13848860)
    My take on why PDA's haven't been as succesful as the "ipod" - its the interface. Apple got that bit right and it became a hit.
    • How about the fact that they serve different purposes. PDAs are information devices, the iPod is an entertainment device. PDAs can do just about everything, but the battery life sucks, and it can't always do everything well. iPods serve a single purpose, and they do that one thing extremely well. Add to this the fact that most information services people want while on the road are being added to cellular phones, and that leaves the PDAs in smaller and smaller markets. It basically comes down to the fac
  • I tried a PDA about three years ago, but I found that it was difficult to carry it and my phone in my pocket. As a result, when my PDA died, I bought a phone that contained my desired PDA functionality. Later, when I needed a portable music player, I bought a Nomad, which doesn't stay in my pocket all day. Someday when WiMax is widespread, I hope to replace both devices with a single handheld computer that can access Rhapsody and Skype.
  • I love my T-mobile HP Pocket PC Phone, the h6315.

    GSM Phone, 4K GPRS, WiFi, Bluetooth. RSS grabber, 2 browsers, FTP, VNC client, Excel, Word, AIM, Shoutcast (32kbps & under), MP3&Video (6 hours of TV on my SD card), etc.

    Battery life sucks but I have a micro charger. Interface is complex but I do 100% of my /. posts while pumping MP3's and keeping my work orders active.

    My broad has an iPod mini. Simple. My luddite dad has one. My little sis has one.

    PDAs do too much, for too short a charge life, a
  • I use a pda daily - I would never buy an Ipod.

    I also have a camera - not a camera phone.

    I need storage for the camera, that doubles for storage for the pda.

    If people saw past the advertising - they'd realize they were getting ripped off for a shaped piece of plastic.

    So - I'll say it's more because folks are stupid, and buy into advertising hype over functionality.
  • by ajservo ( 708572 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:01PM (#13848909)
    I've never sought out all for one convergence.

    There's a variety of reasons for this.

    1. I don't work in a traditional office setting with meetings and appointments.

    2. There's compromises that are made on the portability and "all in one" nature of these devices. The camera feature on an older PDA wouldn't have met my needs for what I had at the time. Do I want to limit myself to 512MB of space for everything? These are questions I evaluated before I made my purchases. The cell phone served it's purpose, the ipod does it's own. I can't see much need in crossover for what I use the two for.
  • There are cell phones and watches [Datalink by Timex and MSoft] that are more useful as personal data storage devices, than most PDAs.

    My personal system is to put highly dynamic or temporary data onto tiny scraps of paper that go into a special pocket in my pants, and my long term numbers and names are stored in my nifty Datalink wrist watch. I don't have a cell, but if I did, I could take notes with that. IF I had an MP3 player, I'd have an FM radio for new data, and MP3s to listen to. If it could be us
    • The ipod had a killer app. The ipod WAS a killer app.
      PDAs were gadgets searching for a purpose. The main purpose they found was making yuppies feel like they were leading busy, important lives. Gadgets can't survive forever just on the value of being an ego boost.
      And that is why, as you say, PDAs are passe.
    • pdas are much more useful than cellphones.

      i have an o2 xda 2 and this device is really nice. full size win ce pda with cell phone functions. ever tried to for example reading books on a cell phone? no fun. reading books on a pda is much better. plus, with a gps receiver you can use it as a navigation system. with headphones as an mp3 player, can watch videos on it, modify pictures i have taken with my digicam, play games when i am bored and write software for it.

      won't ever go back to a standard cellphone.
  • by sterno ( 16320 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:02PM (#13848918) Homepage
    Name me one PDA that has 30GB of space. Or 10... or 5 even?

    I've got a treo. It's a nice phone/organizer and it'd suck donkeys for playing mp3's. Why? Because it has no storage space.

    I think, quite honestly, it comes down to a decision about the intention of the devices. PDA's are marketed to business people. So part of that marketing choice involves trimming out features that would make them well suited to being mp3 players. Why does a business traveller need 10GB of space? It'd be nice, but in the grand scheme, they don't need it and they wouldn't be able to convince their employers to shell out for it.

    The other thing to keep in mind is the costs involved. An IPod is basically a disk drive with a very minimal interface to manage the music. Simple input and simple output using relatively low cost parts. If you tried to build a PDA with similar capacity it'd get a lot more expensive quickly and then who would buy it? Business execs would compare it to a blackberry and think it overpriced. Consumers would compare it to an ipod and think it overpriced.

  • Laptops (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RUFFyamahaRYDER ( 887557 ) <slashdot AT kelsdomain DOT com> on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:03PM (#13848929) Homepage
    Because laptops have 90% of the function of a PC and they run on the stuff that people already know (MAC OS and Win XP). The only thing a PDA has on a laptop is size, and even then size can work against PDA's because it's easier to type on a bigger keyboard and look at a bigger screen that all laptops have...
    • Re:Laptops (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shmlco ( 594907 )
      Don't forget that PDAs are also getting squeezed by the ultra-portable laptop market. If you want a computer, why not get a computer?
    • You're almost there. There're a few other features PDAs have over laptops.

      I use a PDA daily. It is vital to my productivity. But I also have an iBook. I don't use my PDA for my addressbook anymore. I look numbers up on my iBook. I don't take notes on my PDA anymore. Anything important goes into my iBook. I could play MP3s on my PDA, but I'd rather use my iPod for that. It's easier to manage and manipulate for music. I can also play music on my iBook while doing other work, something the Zire72 att
  • Like everyone else has said, PDAs don't make good portable media devices because they're too big, don't have enough storage space, and are usually somewhat lacking in terms of battery life.

    But we're all geeks here... why choose? I've got a PDA, camera phone, digital camera, laptop, and an iPod. It's a lot of gear so I obviously can't take it all everywhere... which means I do need to sacrifice certain functionality sometimes... but it also means that if I know ahead of time what I need, I can pick the
  • by OS24Ever ( 245667 ) * <> on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:04PM (#13848932) Homepage Journal
    The last PDA I bought was a Palm T3 to replace my Treo 300 that I was furious at sprint with because the flip top lid thing snapped off after about eight months of use and the prick told me it was misuse. I am 'careful' with my devices and being told I chucked it at a wall in hopes of an upgrade really made my day.

    Anyway, a PDA while decent to do lots of stuff, it doesn't do lots of stuff well.

    There are things out there to improve the experience, but most of the time they cost money.

    A iPod works out of the box, you don't have to jiggle here, tweak there, poke here. That's why the Pocket Windows devices appeal more to geeks but not to the rest of the world. On a lot of things I want them to Just Work (TM) and it seems when there is a device out there that 'does more stuff and costs the same' it doesn't Just Work(TM) you gott a dick with it. I don't get paid to dick with little devices to listen to music or look up my calendar so I'm not gonna waste my time and look for something that just works (TM)

    My $0.02
  • I would agree with the submitter. I love my PDA. I can look view/send email, look at websites, take notes/contact/other data, view and edit document, etc. I can't see why people bitch so much about touch screens, and then go and use a little tiny screen on a cell phone that you have to control by just using a couple buttons. I can play music and videos on my PPC. I don't really see who would need 60 gigs of storage for just music. I mean, if you have that many songs, you might as well listen to the ra
  • by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:05PM (#13848937) Journal
    I have a Treo 650. It's a phone, it's a PDA, it's a pretty good MP3 player, it's a pretty good games machine to pass the time when I'm bored travelling and it's power-efficient too (and has a removable battery). All in a small form factor.

    People who make generic statements such as "PDAs have failed" are just simply wrong.

  • carrying around a one pound brick and surfing the net while you wait in the middle of the subway station. People with iPods want to bring music with them. People with PDAs want to bring work with them. Who would you rather hang around? (Forgetting that 'neither' is probably the best answer, I mean.)
    • My IPAQ doesn't weigh a pound- in fact, most IPODs weigh more. But I'm more interested in your use of language. What does "look like a total tool" mean? Can you explain it in terms that somebody from 1950 can read and understand? If not, then I have to dismiss that as mere fad, and only idiots go for fads.
  • My View... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by michaelzhao ( 801080 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:06PM (#13848949)
    My parents have often asked if I needed a Pocket PC. Invariably, my answer is always "no." I thought about it for 5 minutes of why I said "no" upon reading this article. I have come up with reasons (BTW, I have an iPod):

    1. No use. I have a laptop, a desktop, a cellphone, and iPod. The laptop and desktop are meant to be ubquitous devices. They handle anything I throw at it. The iPod is for use for my huge music library (50 Gigabytes). No PocketPC could handle that. And my cell-phone is my phonebook.

    2. Price. A PocketPC is around the price of an iPod. However, why didn't I buy a PocketPC instead of an iPod? Simple. Refer back to reason 1. I have no use for a PocketPC. I have no need to addictively log on to Technorati, Digg, or Slashdot. Also, checking e-mail every 5 minutes gets old. To me, the PocketPC doesn't do any one factor well. The iPod does music extremely well. What does the PocketPC do well? Organization? Well, between the back of my hand, my memory, and my pen and paper, I do got that base covered.

    3. Price of Internet. Lets assume I'm not near any unsecured WiFi hotspot. To utilize the expensive brick I just bought to the max, I would have to get online. Well... T-Mobile Internet is $20 a month for abysmally slow Internet. Also, why would I connect using a PocketPC when my cellphone connects to the Internet just as fast and just as well?

    4. Lack of Apps. Lets face it, PocketPC's lack Apps. I put everything I need on my laptop. I owned a PocketPC before, it died, I didn't need a new one. But lack of apps really hounded it.

    My views on improving the PocketPC.

    1. Bigger hard-drive. Between my 80 Gig Laptop, my 73.4 + 2x250 HD's on my laptop, and my 60Gig iPod, the PocketPC suffers from suitable space.
    2. Lack of Apps. With not enough users, developers are loathe to code for it.
    3. Price. Clocking in at the price of my iPod and considering how little I would never considering dropping the cash.
  • by bexmex ( 663081 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:07PM (#13848951) Homepage
    1) battery life

    Your average iPod will play for 10 hours on a charge. You average PDA is lucky to last one hour. Putting the MP3 decoding in hardware is a huge battery saver. Although keeping it in software adds OGG support.

    2) crash!

    In the event that you didn't know #1, and your battery drains, those Pocket PCs have a nasty habit of deleting every file they can find.

    3) effortless synch

    With a PDA you have to manually move folders of MP3s over. Not much playlist support. The iPod with iTunes is effortless, especially with Party Shuffle.

    Synching in general is my main gripe about my PDA. Its a royal pain in the ass to synch unless you use 100% microsoft, and it takes forever. No thanks. Palm is better on the Macs, but not by much. And considering problem #2, being able to quickly synch with many different apps and servers is VITAL.

    Until somebody solves problem #3, Ive pretty much shelved my Axim. I use an iPod and a Hipster PDA [] instead. It wont synch, but neither will it crash.

  • Battery life, Simple to use, cost. Also most people enjoy listening to music, but PDA is work.
  • by irritating environme ( 529534 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:08PM (#13848962)
    Truly a jack of all trades, master of none problem

    The iPod is a focused device that does its original intent quite well. PDAs never did any of their information tasks very well, and considering a mini-laptop was far more useful and almost as portable, PDAs beyond address books (which a watch or phone does better now) never justified their 300-500 dollar price point.

    I worked at a startup that chased enterprise apps on PDAs in the early 00s.

    Developer tools sucked/expensive/closed, and the APIs changed constantly. MS does this junk on the desktop all the time with technologies, as in OLE->COM->DCOM->whatever, but can hide backwards compatibility in the OS bloat, but PDAs don't have room for backwards bloat. So no vibrant utilities or third-party apps really flourished. Palm wasn't much better, either.

    I mean, try making an enterprise app for all the diffrent flavors of Palm+PocketPC. Jesus, it's like writing a 3D driving game for the NES, SNES, and Playstation2 all at once. Too expensive, and not enough money to be made.

    Heck, processor architectures and fundamental OS capabilities (single-thread vs preemptive multitasking) changed constantly.

    Battery life was always terrible, and if you ran out of battery, POOF! goes your installed apps and data (on the iPaq at least).

    Finally, when I had to pay $150 for a damn PCMCIA sleeve for an iPaq that cost only $250, man, that is just WRONG. Any interesting thing you could do with it, from early WiFi or heck even wired networking went out the window with that.

    So basically, the PDA market fragmented into dozens of minimarkets, where nothing could flourish. This was okay in the nascent PC market back in 1980 and you could release a computer with just BASIC interpreter and an extremely rudimentary OS, but people have far different expectations of applications (actual user interfaces, connectivity to internet, etc).
    • Actually the Palm like the IPod was a focused product with an elegant interface. It didn't fail as much got killed by WINCE devices.
      The Palm was a great little PDA. It replaces your day planner and that was pretty much it. Yea you could play a few games on it but wasn't it's main function.
      Then came the WINCE devices. Look it has color neato. You can run Excel on it. You can listen to music.....
      The PDA got defocused. Microsoft couldn't make a better Palm so it made PDAs into something different.
  • Poor marketing (Score:2, Insightful)

    As the proud owner of a Nokia 3300(b) cell phone, I found myself wondering almost the same thing recently. Cingular has started advertising a new phone line with mp3/itunes support as if it's a hot new item. My phone (which is over two years old now) has 512MB worth of mp3s in it, which sound great when played back via the nokia dbus earphones. It also features nice battery life, probably twelve hours of continuous mp3 playback. True, it doesn't have itunes support, but realistically would you rather ha
  • In one word... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MMC Monster ( 602931 )

    Can any palm-top computer reach the ease of use of an ipod, or any other portable media player? I have a Palm Tungsten T5, and it surely is more difficult to use, even when I'm just running the Real music player.

    It doesn't help that ipods mostly are measured in gigabytes, not megabytes.
  • by digitalgimpus ( 468277 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:09PM (#13848974) Homepage
    The iPod is successful for two reasons: ease of use, quality

    That's something lacking on most PDA's. Palm OS was great, has become patchzilla with about a billion things bolted on that old OS, and the new version is still vaporware. Microsoft on the other hand, released a complex, ugly looking OS that makes that tiny screen feel way to overwhelming.

    As far as quality goes... well think about it. The Treo isn't bad, but has it's downsides, those cheap Dell PDA's are just that, cheap.

    For there to be a winner, someone has to do what Apple did. Combine killer features, and quality with ease of use.

    Palm had that formula for a while, but dropped the ball a few years ago. Sony picked up the hardware side with the Clie, which I still carry around. As far as the software goes... it never came back.

    I'm still waiting for my new Apple PDA.
  • At least that's what the marketing weenies tell us. Simply put, PDA's ain't chic. Once the iPod fad fades (in a little less than a year if you're the betting type), their sales will stabilize and then generally decline. That's the difference between a trend and a fad. I think mp3 players are a trend, iPods, a fad. Not that anyone, save slashdot, asked...
  • by Robotech_Master ( 14247 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:11PM (#13848985) Homepage Journal least, not in big enough numbers to make it worthwhile to make them.

    Jeff Kirvin talks about this in the latest entry in his Writing On Your Palm [] blog. He points out that companies like Toshiba, Sony, and HP who used to make all these high-end super-geek-toy PDAs--the "Ferarris of handhelds"--are now either out of the PDA industry altogether, or at least having a hard time keeping up. Whereas Palm, who makes "Toyotas," just keeps on ticking.

    Apparently there just isn't a market for a super-duper-gee-whiz-does-everything PDA at this point.
  • by Gumber ( 17306 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:12PM (#13848996) Homepage
    Because more functionality isn't aways better, especially in a smaller device.

    You might as well be asking why people buy screwdrivers and pliers instead of a single Leathermen.

  • Most people don't need (or want) the functionality of a PDA. They don't need a contact manager, mobile calendar program, wireless web browser, email, document reader, word processor, etc. Yes, some fraction of the world (road warriors and geeks) may want a multifunctional highly utilitarian device, but most people can't even program their VCRs and just want to carry around some music.

    The iPod sells because people do want portable entertainment. PDAs are too much work and remind people too much of work.

  • I've been using an i-mate for the past three weeks - the best thing about it is accessing the web via GPRS. The phone is dumb, the camera pathetic. However if I had the $ I'd get one BUT for the cost per kb charged by Telstra. That's the sticking point for pda's in Australia.
  • "Price" element -- You can buy the cheapest iPod for $99 with 512MB storage, but the $99 model PDA (Palm Z22) holds only 32MB data and can barely do anything.

    "Play" element -- Nobody associates PDA with "play", while iPod is all about having fun.
  • the user interface on my palm treo 650 sucks ass compared to my ipod. Yes, I know they do very differnt things. I would much rather use my ipod than my treo any day.
  • by wernst ( 536414 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:19PM (#13849060) Homepage
    A PDA has been my constant companion since my Psion 3a in 1993, and I've since moved through Palms and Treos to my current Treo 650. The Treo has abilities my poor little Psion would never have dreamed of, and despite a much better user interface, is just as complex to use overall because of it. It is about as complex as a modern PC or Macintosh, just as my Psion was about as complex as PCs or Macs were back in 1993. I happen to be comfortable with this, and it seems the original poster of the question is too.

    The iPod I carry around in my bag is about as simple to use as the cassete tape-playing Walkman I had in High school, in spite of the fact that it has far more abilties than that Walkman ever had. That lowers the barriers to ownership right there.

    Then toss in the "cool factor" that comes with each iPod, and contrast that to the "nerd factor" that comes with every PDA, and it is soon clear why there are a few billion more iPods than PDAs out there.
  • Most cell phones have adaquate contact managers. Note that I didn't say great, just functional enough for most of us to stumble through our days. Most email clients have good enough contact managers, at least for keeping track of email addresses. The big deal with most of the pocket pc type devices is that they can hotsync with Outlook. However, many people who want that functionality either can't get it from the IT folks, or have it on the crackberries (not to mention that most people can't figure out that
  • PDAs aren't as intuitive and simple to use, simply because you can do more with them. I often reflect on Don Norman's old rants about the invisible computer (from one of his popular books, I forget which). His point was that computers are visible to us precisely because we haven't figured out how to optimize them yet.

    He used to talk about how gadget-happy folks would buy electric motors for the kitchen. When I was a kid we had one: it was a motor mounted in the kitchen counter, and it came with all so

  • All the PDA's I've seen are too big to comfortably carry in my pocket. I am NOT going down the bat belt path - they are uncomfortable, and I'm a geek, not a dork. If I can't take it with me everywhere then it's useless.

    The Nokia E70 looks like a truly killer smartphone. It has a full keyboard, 352 x 416 screen, 3G AND WLAN network connectivity, a 2 megapixel camera, and miniSD card compatibility. And it's no bigger than my current phone.
  • by monopole ( 44023 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:28PM (#13849131)
    I've got a Clie TJ-37 which is capable of playing mp3s and video (via mmplayer) both of which I have got running in the past. The limitation is not really one of memory but of battery life. Playing MP3s or worse yet, video will drain the batteries in less than an hour. While I love my Clie as a PDA and eBook Reader, it blows as a media player.

    When I want a portable media player I grab my Gameboy (DS or micro)with a Play Yan which has an insane battery life (5hrs plus w/ video) and great compression (4-5hrs on a 1 GB flash) and is well nigh indestructable. Beats the hell out of the iPod and beats my PSP on battery life. I even hear you can play video games on it.

    Finally PDAs get no love. Every time a PDA topic comes up, everybody on slashdot becomes a luddite insisting that a 3x5 index card and a pencil outperforms a PDA (try GPS mapping with that guys !). On the other hand Apple generates slavish devotion, even with very mediocre products.
  • Batteries (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Windcatcher ( 566458 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:39PM (#13849246)
    For me the main issue is battery life. I can't speak for Pocket PCs, but Palm devices don't have removable batteries, and even a Tungsten T3.5 (see the Brighthand forums to learn what one of those is) only lats a maximum of 6 hours with the screen brightness at minumum. My iRiver can last many times that, and it uses a standard removable AA battery. If Palm devices had better battery life and removable batteries (e.g. allow the use of thicker, ultra-high-capacity batteries), then they might become a much more viable alternative. A Power To Go sled can add more life by recharging your Palm but they don't make them anymore, presumably because the new Palms don't use the Universal Connector. It also isn't all that great a solution -- a better alternative would be the cell-phone model where you simply swap batteries, and have choices of battery capacity.

    In terms of battery life, currently the best Palm MP3 player would be a Tungsten T2.5 (T2 with a Powerizer 1400MAh battery shoehorned in), which will give you 12 hours with screen brightness at minimum, but you have to perform serious surgery to get the battery in there (I've done it to a Tungsten T and it's not for the squeamish).
  • by GeorgeMcBay ( 106610 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:48PM (#13849308)
    The only reason Apple made a video iPod is the idea comes basically for free once you have the new nicer screens and a big harddrive sitting in the unit.

    People who are looking at the video iPod as a validation of the demand for mobile video are mistaken.

    99% of the people who wind up owning a video iPod are only ever going to use it to listen to music.
  • Capacity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dtfinch ( 661405 ) * on Friday October 21, 2005 @08:39PM (#13849600) Journal
    Does your PDA have a 60gb hard drive? If so, did it cost the same as an iPod?
  • by Jay Carlson ( 28733 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @09:27PM (#13849872)
    No really, you can't buy a cellphone. You can only lease one from your provider. At least in the US. Because cell networks must approve the devices that live on their networks, they can veto anything that looks too useful. Like, say, a *good* iPod clone that doesn't give the network provider a 100% tax on music loaded. Or software that gives you decent RSS feeds, or location-dependent services, again, without a tax that's somewhere greater than 100% of the inherent service cost.

    This is what I was praying for at the last Apple keynote:

    Steve Jobs says "oh, and one more thing. We have a GSM iPod now. [Audience says, ooh, ahh. It is beautiful. There is a brief demo.] It will be on sale in Europe within a month. Unfortunately, we have not been able to reach any agreement with US providers, which is unfortunate, since any provider that is willing to have our device on their networks will both help their customers, and provide an incentive for people to switch to that network. At [] we've put a few links if those of you with American cell contracts would like to speak with the potential network providers in the US. Remember, we'd like to sell you as many of these as we can. That means that you will only be helping us if you can provide valid economic arguments to them. Although I'm sure many of you blogging on AirPort connections are shorting out your keyboards with drool over this. [Roar of audience laughter.]"

  • by monkeyGrease ( 806424 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @09:42PM (#13849948)
    Very simple... My teenage daughter paid her own money for an iPod and can use it easily. She walked into the Mac store (Glendale Galleria), played with one for three minutes, and could use it. No problem. She bought it. She now wants a Mac Mini.

    She tried to use a PDA, with guidance, and still lost interest almost immediately. She said it was like trying to use a PC with ten foot chopsticks.

    Apple == Ease of use. Zero learning curve to start. Like a toaster.

    Note that this does not exclude a learning curve and more sophistication _after_ entry. Entry must be immediate and rewarding.
  • Another factor.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jvagner ( 104817 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @10:42PM (#13850217)
    PDAs seem like a good idea when you value your work life enough to carry it around with you. PDAs showed up at a time when most people's data was centralized on their desktop's hard drive.

    Two things happened:
    1) the market crashed, everyone gave up on the idea that if they sacrificed their life to their job, and melded the disparate goals in their life to their corporate goals, they would get rich. to that end, everyone wanted to have their personal and corporate life in a sexy little device they could access at home, work and starbucks.

    2) the data just isn't centralizable anymore. between corporate databases, ASPs, etc., synchronizing is almost impossible. you want your contacts? nobody gets excited about contacts anymore.

    iPods are for lifestyle and play. Work isn't as much a lifestyle thing anymore. And good riddance.
  • by pcause ( 209643 ) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @11:10AM (#13852392)
    Others have pointed out that the iPod is a dedicated device and Apple has made it easy to use. It goes beyond the device. Apple provides, through iTunes and the iPod, a fully integrated experience. Since they control all aspects, from the client to the store to the device and the DRM, they can provide a seamless and simple experience.

    They also are not religuous about the Web and browser and recognized what we all know: rich media is inherently a desktop experience and desktop clients can be far richer than web apps (Yes, AJAX is great, but...). So iTunes is your portal. It uses the web as a data source, may display some stuff in HTML, but it is a desktop client that is quick and simple and totally integrated with the device.

    The other options all involve multiple parties using some kind of standard (even is a proprietary standard like MS). This means that different people do different things and the integraiton isn't as good, the pieces can not count on each other, etc.

    It is all about the end ot end integraiton of the experience.

"I think trash is the most important manifestation of culture we have in my lifetime." - Johnny Legend