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FROM DIGITAL MUSIC TO MOBILE VIDEO?: LOST IN TRANSLATION by Marauder

FROM DIGITAL MUSIC TO MOBILE VIDEO?: LOST IN TRANSLATION

itunes

Guest Writer: Pascal Hillet

Do you remember what music downloading was like before iTunes?

napster

Those were the heady days of Napster and Morpheus. There was a portable digital music device called the MPMan F10. I bought one but never could figure out how to make it work. I gave it away.

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Then came Jobs. He and Apple figured out how to make a consumer-friendly music service and portable player. This was a Copernican revolution: Apple started from the premise of making as good a consumer experience as possible, then finding a way to deliver it, rather than the other way around. The rest is history.

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Photo Credit: kprogram

Yet now I feel as if we’re back in a geocentric universe, only this time with mobile video. There are multiple mobile video and mobile TV services on this earth, and they all, well, suck. Not one of them is consumer-oriented.

For example, why put longish video on a linear service? Mobile viewing by definition isn’t appointment viewing. Who wants to miss both the start and the end of something, watch what’s in between and then try to figure out what it was all about?

Why ask us to pay $5 or $10 on top of the $50 or so we already pay for phone service so that we can watch ancient television episodes in low resolution on a tiny screen? Sorry, not a compelling proposition.

And that’s the point. The industry players (handset manufacturers, mobile operators, technology developers) are not thinking about the consumer first when they try to foist top-down-driven services upon us. Buying any of these is a dismal experience. We’re back to the MPMan.

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Small wonder that none of these services have caught on.

Just as for music, we need a service that starts with the consumer in mind. Let us watch whatever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want. Give us an intuitive UI. Make it free, or include it in our phone subscription.

Last time I checked, Apple was doing pretty well selling iPods and iPhones on the back of the iTunes service. Whoever solves the mobile video puzzle will also prosper.

Go ahead. Make some history.

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