Napster For Mobile Phones… Isn't

from the nice-try dept

For quite some time, people have been predicting that “Napster for mobile phones” was on the way. In other words, for everyone in the wireless industry and the recording industry who somehow thinks that they’ll be able to charge for content on phones that people can get for free online, you’re deluding yourselves big time. However, they just keep on trying. Earlier today, we mentioned a misguided effort to force useless copy protection onto mobile phones, and two other stories today suggest that the companies in this space still don’t get it. First, the actual Napster launched what they consider Napster for mobile phones, but just as this second-generation, recording industry approved version of Napster isn’t particularly Napster-like, their NapsterToGo isn’t quite what anyone meant when they refer to Napster on mobile phones. Beyond the annoyance of the copy protection, the initial version of the product lets you listen to a grand total of six songs with the amount of storage provided on the phone in question. Six songs. Somehow that doesn’t quite make the ground shake. Meanwhile some other company claims they’ve created a file sharing system for mobile phones — but all traffic has to go through the wireless carrier, who will watch it and guarantee that you’re not trading anything you shouldn’t. The company thinks this will work because: “It’s like the Internet, without all the crazy stuff.” That sounds great, except that the “crazy stuff” is what makes people actually want to use file sharing networks. That may excite some carriers, but it’s only a matter of time until people create mobile file sharing systems that allow for “the crazy stuff.” Already, we’ve seen SK Telecom and Nokia test out completely open file sharing networks for mobile phones. Who wants a limited version when the one that lets you do what you want is available?

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