Back in December I blogged about the Motorola KRZR’s GPS features which far exceeded my expectations. Recently, I picked up a 1GB SD Micro card so as to be able to start using the MP3 features. After a little over three weeks I can safely say I need to find a better use for this SD card. The KRZR’s MP3 functionality is way off the mark. I suppose it doesn’t help that I have a $g(4G iPod) that I’m used to.
Having read Joel Spolesky’s blog post on a Sprint cell phone/MP3 player it sounds like perhaps Motorola has licensed the same MP3 technology as Sprint. While the UI is different and perhaps slightly better based on Joel’s description many of the same fatal flaws of exist. For example:
- The player never remembers where you were in a song/podcast, it always starts from the beginning.
- Nearly one quarter of the cramped screen is dedicated to glyphs rather than displaying three more genres, artists, albums or songs.
- It’s too easy to bump the touch sensitive areas on the outside of the clam shell and either jump to the next track or the beginning of the current track and given the first bullet above this is a major pain.
- You can’t use the keypad to jump 15 minutes into a podcast. In fact, you can’t use the keypad for anything MP3 related it simply doesn’t respond!
- The fast forward/rewind buttons on the outside of the clam shell only display a progress bar without total or elasped time so you have to guess based on an unmarked progress bar where you are. You can however, get that information if you flip open the phone which defeats the buttons on the exterior IMO.
- The phone requires a separate dongle for use with a standard set of stereo headphones.
- You can’t charge the phone and listen to the headphones at the same time because of the dongle.
I have to believe had they handed this phone to any iPod user prior to it’s release they would have stumbled into all these problems and possibly more within 15 minutes or less.
With Apple’s attention to detail it’s no surprise they’ve had such great and continued success with the iPod. With the announcement of the iPhone it seems they may have the right approach (read people/engineers) to turn the cell phone market on it’s head. Granted, the new iPhone isn’t out yet but if it lives up to it’s announced feature set it will be fun to watch. I have several friends who have set aside money for one.
Anyway, if you’re looking for a phone with good MP3 player functionality you may want to consider an alternative.
Is your phone a good MP3 player?