Phones look like iPods

A lot of phones are beginning to look a lot like iPods, and I don't think that is a coincidence. By some estimates, Apple has as much as 80% of the portable music player market, and the latest entry, the iPod Shuffle, which is incredibly small, is enormously popular, despite a lot of naysaying from competitors who claim it lacks features. Apparently they don't read the reviews of their own products, in which a frequent criticism is that there are too many controls and widgets that are too hard to figure out.

Sony (invented walk around music with the Walkman) Ericsson have released several new phones that all have iPod form factors, play music, take pictures, and oh, yes, make phone calls too.

The problem with cellphones generally is that you can't pick a phone indepdendent of the service. The cellular companies have a lock on the marketplace and try to control marketshare by obtaining exclusive rights to certain phones. Hence, as a U.S. Cellular customer, I can't get a Treo, period. Cingular has a contract with Treo, and U.S. Cellular does not.

This is a bad thing for consumers, who are being whipsawed by (surprise) phone companies trying to keep customers by manipulating the market rather than on the quality of their service.

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