Mossberg survives laptop-free vacation thanks to Apple 5G iPod + BlackBerry phone combo

“Apple’s iPod is nowhere near as versatile as the cellphone, and is mainly an entertainment device. But it is hugely popular, and includes nonmusic functionality found in laptops, such as large-scale file storage, playback of videos, and display of contact and calendar information,” Walter S. Mossberg writes for The Wall Street Journal. “Increasingly, it’s possible to leave a laptop home on some types of trips and rely on a combination of a high-end cellphone and an iPod, devices many people carry anyway for their core functions — making phone calls and listening to music. The added capabilities in these gadgets are, in effect, bonuses.”

“To test this theory, my wife, Edie, and I recently went on vacation to Ireland and Scotland without a laptop. I carried only a digital camera, a new video-capable iPod and a new, enhanced BlackBerry phone I was testing, the 8700c, which will soon be sold in the U.S. by Cingular,” Mossberg writes. “To my surprise, the no-laptop vacation worked really well. The experience convinced me that even some short, light-duty business trips could be conducted without a laptop.”

Mossberg writes, “The iPod was my solution to backing up my digital photos. Each night, after a long day of picture snapping, I connected my camera to the iPod using a $30 accessory called the iPod Camera Connector. The iPod quickly and easily sucked all my pictures into its large hard disk, without having to delete any music or videos. By the end, it held over 400 high-resolution photos of our trip, which it was able to display as a slide show. The only downside to this process was that the iPod wasn’t smart enough to remember which pictures it had already backed up, or to allow me to select only the new ones. So, each night, it backed up the entire contents of the camera’s memory card, duplicating all the pictures it had already copied. But it worked.”

Mossberg explains how he used the BlackBerry phone in the full article here.

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Related article:
Cingular slashes Motorola ROKR iTunes phone price – November 09, 2005
Motorola SLVR mobile phone with Apple iTunes – November 09, 2005
Motorola unveils RAZR V3i Apple iTunes-capable mobile phone – November 08, 2005


  1. Eh, a treo would have done better. Pop in a few gigs SD memory card, and you get a phone, internet, email, music, videos, and you can write with Word, Excel, Adobe PDF and send them all out as attachments.

    You don’t get the photo backup with the iPod, but I can’t imagine there’s a need for that. Never heard of someone doing that until this article.

  2. this is exactly the same thought i had in getting my iPod (now, with video!). Instead of bringing along a whole big laptop, having to pull it out on the plane to watch Futurama or Family guy, i now will just put my iPod in my pocket, whip it out, and then be done with trying to deal with all the laptop issues. I keep my im5 speakers in my check-in bag, and never have to deal with a large gizmo on a plane.

    Its taken me two weeks of dropping in a new DVD into my G5 very time i walk by it, but now, i’m only one season of disks short of having Family Guy, Futurama, South Park and The Chapeele Show on my iPod.

    along with a Lifedrive palm (from work), i don’t have any need for a laptop any longer while on travel.

    i nice high end phone is probably in my future anyhow, making my lifedrive even unnecesary.

  3. Walt Mossberg is a practical, clear thinking reporter of products and useability issues. When people read his articles their B/S detectors usually remains silent and he’s gets their well earned respect.

    The unwanted duplication of photos is a significant problem for me, by the way. I experience it on iTunes. Even though iTunes allows you to ignore duplicate photos during an upload, every once in a while my photos are somehow reset, so that new dupes are not recognized as such and reimported.

    When Mr. Mossberg got home from his vacation the dupes on his iPod didn’t cause him any extra work because he could just upload his photos directly from his camera onto his computer. But when the duplicates suddenly appear en masse in your iTunes library it means you have to put aside a few hours to manually fix all the dupes. The duplicates problem seems to happen in iTunes after iPhoto updates are realeased.

    For people who like to keep their photos on their cameras, and only erase them when space is needed, there is no adequate solution yet (no, not even “Duplicate Annihilator”).

    Funny, isn’t it, how Mr. Mossbergs iPod didn’t get all scratched up on his trip.

  4. It’s also possible to go on holiday without a suit and tie, without a Herman Miller chair. Really, to have a proper holiday, you should switch off that phone too.

    I bet Walt’s wife wishies he left that crackberry at home and relaxed a bit more.

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