26 September 2005

Ed Zander doesn't get it does he?

"Screw the nano. What the hell does the nano do? Who listens to 1,000 songs?" Zander said. People are going to want devices that do more than just play music, something that can be seen in many other countries with more advanced mobile phone networks and savvy users.

Ed Zander, CEO of Motorola. Obviously a bit irked that the nano has taken all the positive publicity from his first (real) foray into music. His comments betray a lack of understanding about why these things are so popular. Not surprising Motorola got it wrong. Here's what I'm amazed they didn't do:

1. Use USB 2.0. Why, why, why use slow USB 1.1? All current devices support USB 2.0. This phone is crippled right away, irrespective of the 100 song limit. One of the great attractions of every iPod to date has been that it can be filled up very quickly. That means people dock it and update their collections more often. And, because of that they continue to use their device.
2. Allow for larger cards to have larger libraries. Did Apple really insist on a 100 song limit? I doubt it.
3. Put these features in a phone that looked a bit more exciting!

It's not as if this was a last minute reaction - it has been planned and talked about for ages which I'm sure is why people are so disappointed (Victor Keegan of Guardian being a notable exception).

A Razr would be a better bet (and is supposedly coming), but you know just doing a simple checklist of comparable features would have told anyone that this phone was too little too late.

I just wonder though if some of the goodwill between Apple and Motorola will have disappeared with this. It's a pity, the Nokia N-series music phone has been delayed until after Xmas due (apparently) to more DRM work. A good opportunity has been missed.


Ian Betteridge said...

Well it seems that Zander's comments were taken a little out of context - he was laughing when he said them - but either way I'm not sure that the 100 song limit can be laid at Motorola's door. There's no advantage to Mot to a 100 song limit: The only company that gains from that is Apple.

Ian Hobson said...

Hi Ian (Betteridge)

Yes, I had thought about deleting this blog entry when I read the excuses. To be fair to Zander, I accept that he was probably provoked into saying what he did (though I've read more esteemed analysts attacking him too).

If you accept the excuse, most commentary about this is completely off-base.

As you point out, I have also read in numerous places that it is Apple's 100 song limit. I wonder though quite why they would have done that? Without knowing the licensing terms (eg how much does Apple get from each ROKR?) it is difficult to speculate. But Apple doesn't usually like to settle for second best, and I'm really surprised it would artificially limit this device because of a threat to iPod sales, rather than see it be the best music phone out there against Sony and Nokia.

It is possible that because either a lack of decent navigation and/or the slow USB 1.1 connection (why oh why) that they felt they needed to impose such a limit so that the user experience was not degraded over the normal iPod experience?

Anyway, nice to have some comments around here!