Monday, September 27, 2004

So what's next?

Half a dozen years ago, I was telling people about wireless music services, tiny digital music players, subscription services and music libraries in the air. As it turns out this stuff quickly became available and boring, you can get all of that stuff at Walmart now. So the question is, what is next? The answer to that is pretty tough because the technology is really far ahead of the licensing issues right now so there is almost no way to innovate given the complexity of working out licensing deals with the few remaining record companies. So if services aren't going to change drastically, what else can change? Here's a couple of things that give you a good peek at what will probably be commonplace in a couple of years:

- Cars that detect your portable music and can control your device. The new BMWs already can do this with the iPod and there are some adapters for a bunch of cars. Nothing common or standardized yet but assume that a Bluetooth device and a Bluetooth phone should be easily and transparently integrated with your car computer when you come into your car in a couple of years. While you're at it, you won't need a key - just an RFID tag in your wallet.

- Softgoods with integrated electronics. Burton has an ugly MP3 playing hat and Oakley has ugly MP3 playing shades. How long until all the others follow? And why is it that today's clothing doesn't have cell phone and MP3 player pockets? I have heard that there are some jewelry inspired memory sticks coming out too. I'd like to see a Bluetooth motorcycle helmet with speakers/mic for telephone & music.

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