Music Phones

by Nicolas Fogelholm

You sometimes see cell phone manufacturers talk about music phones. What is it then? A music phone is a phone optimized for playing music. The idea with music phones, smartphones and camera phones is that one would have only one device instead of many. A music phone combines a cell phone and a portable music player. Every major cell phone manufacturer has them.

Sony Ericsson introduced the Walkman phones, Motorola launched the ROKR iTunes and Nokia delivers music phones under the XpressMusic phone brand.

More than 100 million music phones were sold in 2005 and that is more than double the number of portable MP3 players and some 12 percent of cell phones sold in 2005 were music phones.

Music Phone Characteristics

Here is some typical characteristics of a music phone. When comparing music phones look at these key features.

  • Large memory (hard disk)
  • Support for poular audio formats (MP3, AAC...)
  • Good sound quality
  • Support for the standard headphones 3.5mm jack
  • Dedicated music keys
  • Good music software (for PC and Phone)
  • Easy to upload music to phone (via bluetooth or USB)
  • Easy access to OTA (over-the-air) downloads
  • Extended battery time
  • FM radio

Music Phones 2005

Here is a couple of examples of music phones released in 2005.

Nokia 3250

This phone has dedicated music keys and can store up to 1 GB (Gigabyte) of music and offers 10 hours of music play. You can transfer music with the Nokia Audio Manager. The music player supports standard audio file formats such as MP3, WMA, M4A and AAC. It has a FM radio. Retail price of 350 EUR before subsidies or taxes.

Sony Ericsson W900i

Sony Ericsson W900i is a 3G phone and you can download, transfer, manage and play music from over-the-air (OTA) music download services. Transferring audio files from a PC to the phone is done with the Disc2Phone PC software supplied with the phone.

The W900i's internal 470 MB memory provides space for between 120 and 240 songs. You can increase the storage capacity with a bigger memory stick (available up to 2GB). This phone supports music files like MP3, AAC, AAC+, MIDI, WAV and XMF. It has a 3.5mm headphone jack.

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