Some things really make ‘going offline’ fun and practical. Software aside, there is some pretty neat hardware out there that is solving some offline mobility problems (how can I travel and listen to music? how can I still do email when I’m not connected? how do I store more on my mobile device?).
1) THE IPOD
I go everywhere with my iPod and my tunes come a long with me. But I don’t think the iPod would be as wonderful as it is if it connected wirelessly to iTunes to download tracks.
Some Podcasts that I listen to [quick plug for the SharePoint Show podcast] are upwards of 40mb+. I can’t imagine downloading something like that over a mobile network or even a choppy wifi connection in the city.
iPod just ‘gets it’ and has perfected an offline player that syncs up when the user has access to a solid network connection.
2) THE BLACKBERRY
RIM and their Blackberry product really understand the offline problem. Email is important, mobility is important, but a network connection isn’t always available. So the RIM team built a solution.
And the Blackberry’s popularity validates the offline mobility niche in a way. There are people addicted to the crack… erm, Blackberry because it keeps them plugged in even if they’re not connected.
3) THE 8GB SAMSUNG i310
Cell phones continue to improve in storage, multimedia, and processing capabilities. Take the recently announced Samsung i310 smartphone which has an 8gb hard drive, windows mobile 5.0, 2MP camera, tv-output, USB 2.0, and stereo speakers!
This almost sounds like Samsung is trying to take the cellular phone offline (is that even possible?!). What would someone do with 8gb of storage? If you could stream everything you ever wanted — music, video clips, emails, apps — then why would you need 8GB of storage? But I feel that Samsung is doing this because they’ve figured out that people actually can’t reasonably stream 8GB of media.
Demand for media consumption on the road keeps increasing, but wireless bandwidth isn’t delivering. For example, I took some pictures with my cell phone (Samsung A920) of my friends at a restaurant last Friday. There were a few good shots in there and I promised to send out a few pictures.
The only problem was that when I uploaded the pictures to my Bell Mobility account, it took 60 seconds just to upload one picture from a 1MP camera phone! Argh. It would’ve been faster if I just gave my buddies the memory card and let them copy the pictures to their hard drive, all offline!
There’s a common theme between all these sexy toys — they make it fun to go offline. No waiting for stuff to download, no worries about shoddy connections. Media is right in your hand, ready to work on or entertain.