The (iPod) Killer App?
We've talked before about the exponential growth of portable electronic memory in electronics. And the increasing size of memory has been hugely beneficial to users, especially with the wide use of filesharing.
But the very fact that memory has become so large almost necessitates a less-than-legal file sharing network to provide content. Apple advertises that it's iPod holds 10000 songs, but it's own iTunes store charges 99 cents per song. You can see where we're going; even if you buy at Walmart's 88 cent music store, you'd be shelling out close to 9000 bucks to fill your mp3 player. Obviously, this isn't happening (or if it is, it might be unhealthy). Even if legal pressure from the MPAA and RIAA doesn't force a change, the public might be interested in another media access option.
And with the ubiquitous presence of ever snazzier cell phones, they may finally have a method of delivery. Gilles Babinet, founder of Musicwave, which currently provides streaming content to Vodaphone cellphone users in Europe, believes that music is only the beginning. Indeed, there are all sorts of companies forming up with the intent of delivering everything from movies to news broadcasts to cable TV. Even if the current cellular networks aren't up to the bandwidth levels needed, new Wifi and Wimax standards are very close to implementation.
So what does this mean for designers? The difference between on-device storage, and off-device storage is huge. Not only will these new interface devices (they're hardly just phones anymore) be able to be smaller, without cumbersome harddrives, but the stream can presumably me made to run both ways. Forget moblogging, what new opportunities are there for webcams that are with you all the time? Will eye-witness news be changed in the same way that the weblog community is changing the traditional paper media? What about phone gaming? With the ability to share huge amounts of information, totally new immersive gameplay concepts could arise.
We know we say this a lot, but it's a really exciting time to be a designer. Get those brains cooking!
Copyright 2004-2006 Dominic Muren and IDFuel Team