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Check out these cool gadgets
Priyanka Joshi | February 22, 2006
The leader in this segment is Nokia which claims that in 2004, it shipped more than 10 million phones with an integrated music player globally. In 2005, approximately half of all Nokia products contained an integrated FM radio. Nokia produces 28 models with 'enhanced music features'. The latest in line seems to be, what Nokia claims, the jukebox phone - N91.
Motorola with its Razr, Sony Ericsson with its Walkman phone and a slew of PDAs have indeed dented Nokia's market in India. But this musical journey is far from over. Consumers can expect some great music phones this year and a cut on the prices too.
iPoD: Small is beautiful
Nano users call it "Manna from heaven". Every music gadget gets compared with the iPod, with endless number of blogs written on the same. However, the talk of the town is the 1GB iPod nano.
Even months after its launch, the product is wooing the Indian music lovers; with its design (thinner than a pencil) complete with Apple's patent pending Click Wheel and the same colour screen as the other iPod nano models.
The breed of music listeners has given rise to podcasting (listening to news, views and music based on personal preferences), which is fast catching on in India. And not to forget the accessories that include everything from covers to protect your iPod to recording conversations.
There are knitted socks (cute covers) that are available in six different colours and protective cases in leather and plastic. And the ball does not stop here. With video iPods making a splash in the west, expect the same fanaticism in India soon.
MP3: Change of tune
In India, the mobile music revenue potential is about Rs 200-500 crore (Rs 2-2.5 billion) and based on this figure, most mobile manufacturers are betting big money on mobile phones with MP3 formats.
The days of lugging your entire CD collection around on trips are definitely passť. With MP3 players, you can download your favourite tracks from multiple albums to the player and create your own greatest-hits album. Most MP3 players are small (3 inches x 5 inches, or less), lightweight and rugged.
Talking about the sound quality, it's good only if heard over a great pair of headphones (something like Bose headphones). The exceptions are MP3 players that store files on hard drives and players that rely on other media, such as CD-R disks, CD-RW disks or minidisks.
As the MP3 market loses some of its heat, manufacturers are adding more features to their devices - not just simple playback controls - to distinguish them from the pack. While some players have a built-in tuner for listening to FM radio broadcasts, others have voice recording capabilities and an integrated microphone.
Other features to watch for are telephone and address directories, the ability to put text memos in the device, remote controls and keyboard adapters that let you more easily enter and edit the text stored in the unit.
Satellite music looks up
The leading loner in India, WorldSpace seems to be on the roll. It finished 2005 with more than 115,000 subscribers globally and in the the last fourth quarter, it added more than 40,000 net new subscribers, increasing its subscriber base by more than 50 per cent. Their estimates show that five billion people in 130 countries are delivered with the latest tunes, trends and information from around the world.
Today, satellite music can be heard in nine cities in India, including Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Pune, Ahmedabad, and Chandigarh, covering a population of approximately 29 million through 650 retail locations and 550 direct sales force agents. WorldSpace is planning to woo discerning audiences with dedicated stations in regional languages too.
WorldSpace satellites cover two-thirds of the globe with six beams and each beam is capable of delivering up to 80 channels of high quality digital audio and multimedia programming directly to its satellite radios. Pricing is a major issue.Currently, monthly subscriptions fees amount to Rs 1800 (costs of the satellite radio sets are additional; starting from Rs 1,999 to Rs 6790). The point is, how many people will agree to pay for radio channels, something that has always beamed free-of-cost to masses.