On the ground: More iTunes phones
So the ROKR E1, the first phone from Motorola to have iTunes built in, has been a big let down. It's been in the news a lot, from problems with the phone, the fact that iTunes is limited to 100 songs, and other issues. But now it looks like Motorola is doing all it can to not let the experience be a failure. Reports indicate that a new ROKR will come in 2006 and it will fix most of the issues people had with the original one. It will allow up to 1000 songs, which is the big plus, and it will feature a better camera and a standard headphone jack. The RAZR will also come with iTunes in the V3i model.
So far Apple, which really owns the biggest share of the legal music download market, has stuck with Motorola to bring iTunes to the phones. There is however room for improvement. Being able to transfer music from your PC to your phone isn't new, at least unless you have a crippled phone, and all iTunes does in this case is automate the process, since you don't have to first convert the songs to MP3. What would be new would be a way to buy from the iTunes music store directly from the phone. Earlier this month, Sprint launched the first music store that could really be done entirely on the phone. But it has problems too, like high costs, up to $2.50 for a song.
One day everything will be compatible, from the various computer based Internet music stores, to the various music players, all phone models, and phone based stores. But it's going to be a while, and it's mainly the various companies that are the biggest problem, and also all the DRM technologies they put in their services. For now, while they don't like to admit it, the fact remains that the biggest market share as far as mobile music is concerned, is downloaded MP3 files, from various less than ideal sources.