Report: Apple iPod blows away mobile music challengers with 20 point sound quality & usability gap

Strategy Analytics, the global research and consulting company, today released its latest mobile application benchmark report, “Apple iPod Blows Away Mobile Music Challengers.” Strategy Analytics’ advanced wireless buyer panel benchmark evaluation concluded that first generation mobile music devices receive a failing grade on both sound quality and feature usability.

In this analysis, the Strategy Analytics advanced buyer panel performed head to head benchmarks of the iPod against 4 leading mobile music enabled devices: Samsung E720, O2 XM, SEMC V800 and the SPV500.

“The 02 XM leads for music feature usability, while the Samsung E720 was rated best overall among a relatively weak set of music phone contenders,” noted David Kerr, Vice President of the Global Wireless Practice at Strategy Analytics in the release.

Chris Ambrosio, Vice President of device research, added, “With a 20-plus point performance gap in perceived music quality, handset vendors and operators must do better to realize their visions of mobile music revenues and share support. The next wave of devices from Sony Ericsson (Walkman W600) and Motorola, among others, will have to cross the quality chasm, and provide dedicated music hardware to overcome the weaknesses of these first generation products.”

The full report can be accessed by subscribers to Strategy Analytics Advanced Wireless Laboratory service here.

For larger view of the chart, “Mobile Music Device Evaluation,” see:


  1. Mobile music is coming…and these devices are on the right track…but being an iPod killer means unlocking the usability combination.

    This report made no mention of how music gets on the device, music capacities, and compatible formats.

    The PDA/phone merge makes sense (use contact list to dial phone, etc) it makes sense to take along your music with you. I do not subscribe that I need a camera phone, but music + PDA/phone _does_ “rock” – pardon the pun.

    When a PDA/phone adds music in a way that allows for large colletions to be easily copied to it, managed from desktop software, and integrated into a music store software platform, they will have an iPod killer.

    Thing is, it will be Apple who does this and ‘kills’ the current iPod line with this next generation.

    MDN word is “rather”

  2. Why can’t a phone just be a phone anymore? And a music player a music player?

    Has anyone ever thought…shoving every function you can imagine into a smaller and smaller sized device…only makes that device less friendly and intuitive to use?

    I mean, my current cell phone, takes pictures, videos, text messages, emails, plays games, holds music I think?, custom ring tones, etc…and really all I want it to do…is be a phone. Not to mention doing any of the other stuff is clumbsy and generally frustrating.

    Sure, someday years from now, technology will advance to the point where miniturizing everything and loading it with functions will actually work…but today it just doesn’t. Cell phones suffer feature bloat as do iPod competing devices.

    There’s a simplicity to using an iPod and that’s what all these others guys keep missing and what this report reiterates.

    Sure my iPod can hold photos, and cotacts, and do other stuff…but I bought it because it plays music and that’s what I wanted to do.

    Apple personifies KISS (Keep it simple stupid) – and that’s why everything they do is easy to use – and that’s why the iPod is the market leader.

    Sometimes having a cell phone be only a cell phone, and having an MP3 player be only that…well it just works.

    Ranting completed…thanks for listening.

  3. I think one thing that the mobile+MP3 player market is trying to vouch for, is that people do not want to carry around a rucksack full of rechargers with them when they travel around.
    TBH, that’s not going to be a huge market, but to me, it feels like some smart genius in a company thought this up, and decided this is the new model: target the business commuters who have to carry a dedicated PDA, decidated ipod, dedicated mobile, as well as any other electronic devices. I cant remember the website i read where a guy had to fight with other conference attendees to get the power socket, and bring a 4-way power splitter to cahrge up all his devices.
    For some people, this will work, and will be like a blessing for them. For most people however, going seperate ways will be the only way forward to guarantee satisfaction.

    NDS MW: Approach. Other companies will need a new approach to build the elusive “iPod killer”

  4. And this doesn’t even take into account iTunes and ITMS. No discussion of an MP3 player should be made without taking into account the computer software that you will use to fill it with music and the online download solution for obtaining music.

  5. Mr. Bill,

    I agree 100% I want a phone that just makes phone calls – I never use any of the other crap they cram on the phone.

    Michael Cheung,

    And in response to “is that people do not want to carry around a rucksack full of rechargers with them when they travel around” this is why the iPod can charge via USB or Firewire. Just bring your laptop and you can charge – no adapter needed for the iPod.

  6. I too listen on the airplane… It would be stupid to have my music on my Cell Phone.. I guess nobody thought of this yet..

    Actually they have. That’s why a lot of phones on the market have an airplane mode so that you can still use all the other features (like address book, contacts, memos, games, music, etc) on the phone while in flight.

  7. Convergence blows.. member how many times Thurrott screamed ‘NASCENT MARKET!! I LOVE THE WORD NASCENT!!!’ because the phones were going to kill the ipod?

    *raises glass

    here’s to your, you fucking shill

    Convergence blows.

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