Here come Microsoft’s Portable Media Centers, did Apple blow it by limiting iPod to music?

“Portable media is about to go to the next level, with Amazon.com today announcing that it’s taking pre-orders for Microsoft’s Portable Media Centers. These gadgets, which will begin to be available as soon as August, allow users to have music, movies, digital photos, and more rendered portable and on the move,” Alyce Lomax writes for The Motley Fool. “Did Apple miss a key opportunity by limiting its iPod to tunes?”

“Steve Jobs has been quoted as nixing the idea, theorizing that people don’t want to watch movies

49 Comments

  1. I’m just want the iPod to go color (screen that is), and I mean millions of colors, not thousands, not 256. MILLIONS. And add support for a pen, and call it an iPad or something. With an IR Port and AirPort bard built in, and speaker port, and AV port. Okay maybe I’ll just stick with the color screen for now.

  2. I already have a portable media center. Music, photos, movies, I can plug it into any modern TV. It even plays dvds at a reasonable size, it’s called an ibook.

  3. Everybody says a video iPod will fail because nobody wants to watch video on a tiny screen. Well, that’s true.

    But what happens if Apple puts a video-out port on it? Then you can take your video, photo slide shows, etc. and plug them into the TV at Grandma’s house, or run your Keynote presentation from your iPod, at the board meeting. Could you become the life of the party by showing up, pulling your iPod out of your pocket, jacking the iPod tunes into the stereo and the iTunes Visualizer into the TV? That might be worth something.

    Like one of these:
    http://www.smartdisk.com/Products/DigitalMultimedia/FlashTrax.asp

    Think, people, think.

  4. This is a simple one. Tiny TVs are NOT innovative. They’ve been out for decades… and they DIED!! They died for the precise reason Steve Jobs had said. Their only useful purpose were as monitors for camcorders.

    Do you really need to show someone tiny versions of your digital photos. That’d be combining TWO Hell’s in one; the endless boring family vacation slideshow and some guy yankin’ out the pics of his butt-ugly children from his wallet. Now he can show your HOURS of pics of his butt-ugly children.

    The only people using tiny screens are pre-teens on GameBoys. But their attention span is so short, there is no way they’d sit and watch anything longer than 10 seconds on such a media player.

    I guess welding the bed of a pick-up truck onto a Porsche would make it more versatile… in theory.

  5. Microsoft and its loyal tech writers want us to think that if portable music is a good idea, portable video is an even better one. Hogwash! Apple’s iPod does not focus on audio because of any hardware or software limitation; it focuses on audio because it can do that one thing very well. Portable Media Centres might have more features than the iPod but so do PDAs, and no-one gets excited about using those. Having said that, next generation PDAs might make PMC redundant, if they start including hard drives in their designs.

  6. “‘These gadgets, which will begin to be available as soon as August, allow users to have music, movies, digital photos, and more rendered portable and on the move…’ Alyce Lomax writes for The Motley Fool.”

    Yeah, well, guess what. I have a device that will allow me to have music, movies, digital photos and more, rendered portable and on the move; it’s called a Powerbook. And I don’t need some piece of shit Microsoft product telling me how much my licensing fee is going to be before I am “allowed” to enjoy all of that media. Alyce needs to get a clue.

    Besides, I would rather look at a 12″-15″ screen instead of 4-6″ inches which is what’s on their crap. Gates’/Ballmer’s one and only priority is to extract as many fees from the general public as possible. Fukkem.

  7. I have to admit, I like the concept. But I’m not convinced that the technology is there yet.

    What I want is a device which would take the place of a paperback novel. It should be about the same size as one when not in use (about 4″ x 7″ x 1.5″). I think I could deal with a screen that was 7 inches wide for watching recorded television. Of course, to keep the same aspect ration as a television, I think the height has to be something like 4.5 inches. Folding LCDs perhaps so when I “open” my book, I have access to my controllers. Another option would be a pen or touchscreen-based interface so that you wouldn’t have to have any physical controls.

    It also needs a battery life and a hard-drive capacity for eight hours of video at a minimum of television resolution. This would be suitable for a long airplane flight. I might settle for five hours, but no less.

    At the moment, I don’t think technology is at the point where such a device can be built at a decent price (eg, about $300-$400). If it’s too expensive, it falls into the “Why don’t I just get a laptop?” category. Part of the problem with the current crop of devices is they’re trying to be all things to all people. The devices I’ve seen are too big and heavy to be a good music player and the screen is too small to be a good video/image player.

    One of the nice things this will do, possibly, is get the debate over “fair use” out in the open. One of the things I will want to do is record things I receive over cable. So, for example, I’m certainly not going to go rent/buy “Pirates of the Carribean” for my cross-country airplane flight when I can just record it off of Starz. The companies which are offering content are going to have a hard sell–I’m not going to pay my cable company to get CNN and then pay CNN again to get what is essentially the same content on my portable player.

  8. jobs is right, no one wants to watch movies on little screens. does anyone really buy those personal dvd players? if you do like to watch movies on 2 inch screens, buy a psp when they come out, but for now just use a laptop to watch movies, get an eyetv if you want to watch recorded shows.

  9. Actually, I wonder how long the battery lasts on a single charge. We know that video requires higher bitrate and files are a lot bigger, even for postage stamp sized videos to have decent quality (but then again, you’ll see it on a tiny screen). It’ll force the drive to spin more.

  10. Lets remember the MOST IMPORTANT point of this whole portable media thing!

    And that is HOW PEOPLE USE PORTABLE MEDIA!

    People will adopt portable media IF it is convenient (e.g. – they can do something else as well as what their listening or watching).

    How many of you do something else while watching TV??

    I bet the majority of you do.

    Another fact is that do people actually have enough leisure time to watch a 2hr movie on a 4″ handheld screen?

    And would they want to do that at home?

    The chances are they won’t!

    People spend most of their time at home from a day’s work and youre gonna watch a full size TV and not a 4″ screen!

    I see only one market for this device and that was fulfilled by the tiny TV’s that were around – passengers in cars or on planes.

    You can’t watch a movie while walking down a road, you can’t watch a movie while cycling or any activity – so Steve Jobs has got it correct!

    If go on holiday and wanna watch a movie and there is no dvd player in the place I will take my laptop with a 15″ screen and not a 4″ screen portable media centre.

  11. Lets remember the MOST IMPORTANT point of this whole portable media thing!

    And that is HOW PEOPLE USE PORTABLE MEDIA!

    People will adopt portable media IF it is convenient (e.g. – they can do something else as well as what their listening or watching).

    How many of you do something else while watching TV??

    I bet the majority of you do.

    Another fact is that do people actually have enough leisure time to watch a 2hr movie on a 4″ handheld screen?

    And would they want to do that at home?

    The chances are they won’t!

    People spend most of their time at home from a day’s work and youre gonna watch a full size TV and not a 4″ screen!

    I see only one market for this device and that was fulfilled by the tiny TV’s that were around – passengers in cars or on planes.

    You can’t watch a movie while walking down a road, you can’t watch a movie while cycling or any activity – so Steve Jobs has got it correct!

    If go on holiday and wanna watch a movie and there is no dvd player in the place I will take my laptop with a 15″ screen and not a 4″ screen portable media centre.

    And as I will be using my laptop, and not a portable media device with a 4″ screen, means I can use a full size keyboard, download my holiday photos the day i take them, play computer games and maybe even do a bit of work!

    I bet you can’t do that on Microsoft’s portablr ‘media centre’!! (epecially one with only a 20gb hard drive and 2 hours battery life!!)

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