Music on your phone

M:Metrics has just made a new press release with some juicy data about mobile phones and the use of these devices as music players: MOBILE MUSIC USAGE IS CLIMBING, BUT NOT ALL MUSICPHONES ARE CREATED EQUAL.

I’m particularly happy about this press release because while I’m not an expert analyst, I was actually involved in the creation of this press release. My contribution was needed because of the issue of identifying the devices that should actually be part of this analysis. We hear every day about music phones, feature phones, smart phones, etc, but what are they? Which are the detailed features or characteristics that make up a music phone?

Internally we discussed a lot about this and everyone provided his own view. The devices taken into account in this analysis are the result of our internal discussion.

Sometimes it is really hard to build a list of devices defining a set of rules. When you first define these rules you will end up including some device that you did not want or miss one that you wanted to be part of the list. An example is the Motorola V3, it can play MP3’s, it can be connected to the PC and you can sideload songs from your computer and you have a tiny music player, but does this make it a music phone? In my opinion it does not. The music player is slow and ugly. You can’t build playlists, you can move to the next or previous song, but you have to go back to the main list. It has a lot of memory, but doesn’t really compare to the 2-4GB of an iPod Nano, it’s nearer to the first versions of the iPod shuffle.
Compared to the Sony Ericsson W810i, the V3 is nothing when you compare music-features.

So what is the difference? When does a mobile phone (that was born as an apparatus to make and receive calls while on the move) turn into a device to also play music? Is it the little walkman button that make it an iPod competitor?
Should we talk about Music-optimized? Music-optimized it means that it had all those features that you would expect from an MP3 player, the appropriate keys to start and stop music, to skip to the next song and then all the interface and features to build a playlist, to see the available songs in an easy and quick manner.

It is all very interesting, because of course the fragmentation that exists in the mobile space makes it really hard to define a single rule that will match all these requirements. Is the iPhone part of this family? It doesn’t really have a key that you can press to start music. Is a blackberry a music-optimized device simply because I could use the rocker to move to the next songs with an appropriate software installed?

Very interesting discussion and collecting very different points of you. If you have your own opinion of what a music-phone and a music-optimized phone is, please let me know.

M:Metrics first Quarterly Web Briefing

A few days ago I posted about the two Web Briefiengs that my colleagues from M:Metrics would have made this week.

If you missed any of the two and are interested in listening to them, they are now freely available online. We have two formats provided, Windows Media and Macromedia Flash. This should make them usable on any platform.

The two briefings cover mostly the same topics which are MMS, video, mobile TV and mobile VAS in general. The EU briefing is about EU too and provides more numbers about the 5 major countries that we cover (Italy, UK, France, Spain and Germany). The US briefing is quite interesting because compares many figures between US and EU and gives some hints of what should happen in the next few months.

If you are interested, here is the M:Metrics Q3 Web Briefing EU Focus and here is the M:Metrics Q3 Web Briefing US Focus.

What is accuracy?

Part of my daily work for M:Metrics is about checking device descriptions.
Another part is to check what panelists selected as their device during our surveys (M:Metrics runs surveys in 5 countries in Europe and in USA). Panelists pick their device from a list. When they can’t find it, they have an input field where they can specify the name. As you might expect we have the funniest reports such as “looks like a Nokia 6600, with a blue cover, but I think it’s a Nokia 6230”. First thing I wonder when I read these is “the user has a list of thumbnail and names. If you look at a 6230 and a 6600 you CAN NOT confuse them!”.

Anyway, while doing some research I found this page on the Vodafone site.

Nothing too strange, except that the article is about the Samsung Z500V, but the picture name is Z140V. Which one is wrong?