Mobile Media Ubiquity

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

I’m sitting on the train right now watching a bunch of 9 year old boys displaying their flashy mobile phones to each other. Thinking back almost 2 decades ago, when I was 9… change is interesting. If only they didn’t make the things speakerphone capable, I’ve never liked wearing headphones in public places but the alternative these days is listening to kids playing off their favourite pop and hip-hop artists against each other (backed up by constant PSP sound effects). If nothing else, we certainly live in a noisier world now. No music sounds good coming out of these devices with added screech and crackle and truncated range, but this isn’t just about listening to the music of course.

The 9 year olds were just replaced by a bunch of 12 year old boys who’re watching South Park on their mobile phones. Will wonders never cease?

I’m not complaining, I was late to enter the mobile market (2003) but my first mobile phone was an all-bells-and-whistles, touchscreen, 3G, Motorola A920 brick (now a less bricky A1000). I was able to watch videos on my phone before most people I know (and they’re mostly geeks) — back in Sydney I often used it to check out movie trailers before heading to the cinema. It’s not the newness of the tech that’s interesting, geeks have had this stuff for years, it is the sudden ubiquity. These kids don’t even have iPods anymore, they don’t need them.

I’ve noticed more and more people in the gym without iPods too, the same trend applies: they’ve been replaced by phones (it might be a different story in a trendoid gym in a trendier area). What has higher value, the supposed sexiness of an iPod or not having to carry around an additional gadget? Phones are getting sexier anyway. Thus the iPhone? There’s so much potential for wringing money out of these kids. Media/Games/Software … the hard part is getting them to pay rather than just working out how to rip everything off (it only takes one l33t kid to knock 100+ out of the market, and it isn’t hard to be l33t). The answer must be to make paying easier than ripping off, which is easy to say but the hard part is “how?”. The music industry seems to think this can be done by making the ripping-off harder; and they just move from one DRM total-failure to the next.