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THOUGHT: Is the Pocket PC the better Portable Media Player?
Posted by Arne Hess - on Sunday, 21.08.05 - 19:45:34 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 12811x
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Over at Yahoo! News, they have an interesting article called "PluggedIn: Portable media players may struggle to find market" where the author comes to the conclusion that Portable Media Players are too pricy, too hughe and that they haven't found there "natural" place yet, like MP3-players (a logical follower of the good old 80's Walkman).
Actually it's an interesting thought and even the media player manufactures might don't see a serious market yet if you count the available portable media centers and compare it with the number of Pocket PCs which can do basically the same.

So if I compare my Creative Zen PMC with any Pocket PC I have, both have QVGA displays only (some of my Pocket PCs even have a VGA screen) while the Zen has a 20 GB HDD which is enough to store most of my music tracks as well as a couple of DVDs and the latest TV-recordings. My Pocket PCs can not tore all these data yet (as long as I'm not using a Pocket PC with CF or P-card slot to expand it with HDDs). Another serious advantage of my PMC is that I can plug it into a TV to get my videos there. While the 320x240 resolutions isn't the best (which is a limitation of the Microsoft PMC concept, other portable media players support even PAL or NTSC output) it's good enough during trips to watch the latest TV-show you delete after anyway. Most Pocket PCs doesn't support video out (yet) so you have to watch your videos on the device. On the other hand, my Pocket PC is connected which means - thanks to services like Orb or highpad Media Control, I can stream the same shows (or even newer) from my home PC, as long as I have a broadband connection available for my Pocket PC.
But, I have to admit that the stand-by time of my PMC is far better than anything I saw so far with Pocket PCs so I can enjoy my digital entertainment longer, for instance during oversea flights.

Last but not least the size and the other functionalities: my Pocket PCs are way smaller while they can do way more (phone, web, E-Mail, contacts, calendar, games, navigation, etc.) and with Windows Media 10 on a PC and Windows Media 10 Mobile on the Windows Mobile device, synchronization is a piece of cake, it's as easy as getting a Windows Mobile Portable Media Center synced with a Windows XP Media Center Edition.
Talking about Windows Media 10 Mobile: here the Windows Mobile developers paid their attention to make the Pocket PC (and for sure Smartphone) as Media Center compatible as possible since you get a similar list of contents as you have it on your PC. Anyway, for the release of Windows Media 11 Mobile I would suggest to use the PMC/MCE UI since it's easier to use and more user friendly.

Okay - so what's the better portable media player? If you count just the hard facts, it's the Pocket PC while today's portable media players have their advantages also. But if you are not a completely media addicted dude and traveling a lot - go with the Pocket PC since it can serve near everything a portable media player can do and a little bit more.

Now we need to see Pocket PCs with 4 GB+ storage space and video out facilities, than the portable media player is dead.

Cheers ~ Arne


 

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Comments
Posted by Pony99CA on 21.08.05 - 20:04:23

I agree.  Portable Media Players have the advantage of much more space, but you can get 4 GB CF cards and 6 GB CF hard disks fairly reasonably now. 

If I really wanted to push the envelope, I could add two 6 GB CF drives to my iPAQ 5550 using a dual-slot expansion pack (long may they live!).  Combined with a 2 GB SD card, that would give me 14 GB of storage.  Although the combination would probably cost more than a PMP, I already have the iPAQ and the SD card, so I wouldn't have to buy those.  I also wouldn't need to carry another device with me; I could use my nice Piel Frama case that I won to carry the beast.

Steve

Posted by Surur on 21.08.05 - 23:04:17

None of these devices will find a "natural home" until cheap, legal video content is easily available e.g. Tivo to Go.  Until then I'm not touching bittorent with a long pole, and if I have the content on DVD already I would have watched it on my big screen, so why would want to watch it again?

Surur

Posted by drooler on 22.08.05 - 03:24:29

Arne, my thoughts exactly...

...i would long for 802.11g as well, to stream video content the better way ( does it work with 802.11b for you ? i'm going to buy the HTC UNIVERSAL, and i was wondering if i can stream video from my PC to my bedroom with 802.11b )

cheers

Posted by Arne Hess on 23.08.05 - 19:14:49

Pony99CA wrote:

I agree. Portable Media Players have the advantage of much more space, but you can get 4 GB CF cards and 6 GB CF hard disks fairly reasonably now. 

If I really wanted to push the envelope, I could add two 6 GB CF drives to my iPAQ 5550 using a dual-slot expansion pack (long may they live!).  Combined with a 2 GB SD card, that would give me 14 GB of storage.  Although the combination would probably cost more than a PMP, I already have the iPAQ and the SD card, so I wouldn't have to buy those.  I also wouldn't need to carry another device with me; I could use my nice Piel Frama case that I won to carry the beast.

As I said, the real advantage (IMHO) is the storage space, the better battery runtime and the ease of use! The UI of most portable media players is simply enough to be used even for non-geeks. At least the Microsoft PMC is super simple!
In terms of memory, I think we need some more flash memory and we are ready to go. In the past, Windows Mobile wasn't suitable to hold your media files (on-board), imagine to have a drained battery which causes to lose all your media files. Now with WM 5.0 and persistent storage, everything is fine but the minimum is 5 GB, I think.

Surur wrote:

None of these devices will find a "natural home" until cheap, legal video content is easily available e.g. Tivo to Go. Until then I'm not touching bittorent with a long pole, and if I have the content on DVD already I would have watched it on my big screen, so why would want to watch it again?

I fully agree that ripping a DVD, converting and copying it to the device is a pain, which takes forever, if your PC isn't at least a 3GHz P4 beast which might drive folks into P2P networks because they don't want to to the work but prefer to download the precompiled movies.
On the other hand I disagree in terms of never watching a DVD twice. It depends. Mainstream movies I don't watch twice or if I do, I watch it 2 - 3 years after it ran in the cinema on TV. However, there are all-time classics (like for me the Marx Brothers) I can watch over and over again. And some of these movies I always have on my PMC.

drooler wrote:

Arne, my thoughts exactly...

...i would long for 802.11g as well, to stream video content the better way ( does it work with 802.11b for you ? i'm going to buy the HTC UNIVERSAL, and i was wondering if i can stream video from my PC to my bedroom with 802.11b )

Yes, streaming via 802.11b is good enough and works well. No need for g, at least not on small screen devices like Pocket PC and streaming with the Universal works, generally beside the Window Media Player 10 Mobile issue I found some time back.

Posted by zatsmee76 on 02.09.05 - 07:23:41

Arne, I think ur right. In fact if u think about it the other way around, you don't even need to match the capacity of MP3 players with PocketPC as Pony99CA was explaining so that you would say these devices are dead. Just a good old fashioned PocketPC with 2GB CF card can easily beat portable media players.

I think it's time that portable media players manufacturers find new excelling ideas to promote it in their devices to remain on board.

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