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. I have one of phones in that report (the Sony Ericsson V800), and it’s fabulous, probably the smartest proprietary-OS phone out there right now… but it’s no replacement for my iPod. That said, it’s not a horrible music device, either.

    The sound quality is good, I can set up playlists and folders, and it’s completely tolerable to use. Is it as good as a Pod? Of course not, but that’s not news at all. On the other hand, it’s always with me, and even still I sometimes forget my iPod or its battery runs down. What’s killing these things right now is that flash memory is still relatively expensive for what you get, when compared to small hard drives. My V800 has a 256 MB Memory Stick Pro Duo in it, and since all my music is ripped at a very high bit rate, that’s basically only enough for one album. Sure, I could get more memory, but it gets ridiculously priced much above 512 MB… for now, anyway.

    Convergence does NOT blow completely, and here’s why. It is true that a jack of all trades might be a master of none, but the V800 (and other high line phones of its ilk) do a LOT of things very decently. Just like I might not always have my iPod, I also don’t have my best digital camera, video camera, fast cable modem connection, Pocket PC, or even a flashlight. But the V800 can fulfill EVERY ONE of those basic functions, even if it doesn’t do ANY of them completely as well as the dedicated devices. It was never meant to replace them, it was meant to fill their roles when they aren’t around, built for a time when it’s assumed most people would sooner leave their wallet behind than their phone. Say what you will about convergence, the V800/Z800 is A LOT of technology in a package slightly thicker than an iPod mini.

    I just wish people who didn’t understand this would stop comparing Apples (sorry pun not completly intended!) to phones.


  2. the only converged product that would make sense to me is a microwave oven with a television built into the door. An internet fridge dosn’t make sense to me. But a microwave with the TV/computer as the front kinda works for me.

    As for the topic of the day; Get an iPod and a Phone and glue them together at the back. It’s a converged product made up of two dedicated devices.

  3. I totally agree with Mr Bill’s post.

    Less is more!

    All these companies are so blinded – lets add everything we can think of to a mobile phone and people will love it!.


    It is proven by research that most people want a mobile phone to do a few thing properly and not 100 things crappily.

    Believe it or not the mobile phone will never replace laptops, or portable video editors or any other device that requires a useable size screen.

    It may be the portable device for handheld convergence – but ONLY for communication!

    What these phone companies should be doing is making it the best communication device possible and not fart ass around turning it into a muisc player, video and game machine or anything else!

    Why not put something useful on a mobile (there’s a new idea!) – how about a dedicated mapping app – you type in the postcode or where you are and type in a postcode of your goining to and it shows u a route to get there, by bus, train, car or walking!

    What Apple needs to do is develop amobile phone that is like the ipod: simple to use and upgradable – meaning; when you buy the phone it comes with a few essential apps like address book, calendar etc. Then if you want other apps on your phone you connect to the Apple website and download other apps from their website (like the dashboard widgets web page). You could just select the ‘app’ connect your mobile via blurtoooth to the mac and download it onto the phone.

    Just some ideas…

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