Monday, June 30, 2008

ipod touch

I lost my beloved ipod nano last Monday during my trip to Delhi. In some
ways, it was a fortuitous as I got to replace it with an ipod touch 32
GB. I purchased it from JJ Mehta, a Mumbai based camera store, for 21500
rupees on the Internet. I can't remember the last time I bought
something other than travel tickets on the Net. It was an imported gray
market item as the MSRP for the ipod touch in India is 24700+tax. I was
apprehensive initially, especially with respect to the warranty, but
this store has got a lot of good reviews, so I decided to go ahead with
the purchase.

One of the main reasons that I went for the Touch rather than a
replacement Nano was for the video capabilities. A couple of years ago
when I got my first video capable phone, I was wondering how anyone
could watch video on such a small screen. But, having experienced it
over the past few months, I am hooked and find it difficult to watch it
on a PC or laptop anymore. I think the combination of portability and
comfort is hard to beat and when you're watching from 8 inches away, the
screen size and resolution does not matter that much.

Once I started using the Touch, I was floored by the interface, not only
was it gorgeous to look at, the way you interact with it is something to
be experienced. It makes other touch screen devices look pre-historic in
comparison. I spent 3 hours downloading album art for all my CDs from
the internet just so that I could browse them through the Coverflow

I was expecting to be disappointed with the Safari browser given the low
screen resolution, but the zoom capabilities make it surprisingly
usable. Also, given the popularity of the iphone, a lot of websites have
tailored their design to the screen making for a very usable experience.

The one standout app for me is the Youtube viewer. Searching for youtube
videos has never been this easy and I have never seen their videos look
as good as they do on the touch. I can easily see this becoming the no 1
use case for me.

My #1 reason for buying this was for viewing videos. Frankly, I was a
bit under whelmed, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I already have a
N800, which is as good when it comes to picture quality and portability
and has the advantage of a slightly bigger screen/resolution. Secondly,
the range of codecs and file formats that are supported in the touch is
limited, so I need to transcode most of the videos before I can watch
them, like in the N800. Given these factors, the experience of watching
video on the touch is just a little ahead of the N800, but not the light
years that I was expecting. So, I think I'll end up using the N800 for
watching movies at home and take the ipod on the road, giving me the
best of both worlds.

I have to end by comparing the touch with the N800. Somewhere, I'd read
about the ipod and the N800 being competitors for the other pocket, i.e.
not your phone. I'm finding it difficult to really compare the two, as
they are two different devices. The N800 is really a miniature computer,
extremely open with a wide variety of apps, but a mediocre media player.
The touch is a fantastic media player with quite sophisticated general
computing capabilities. I wouldn't give any of them up for the other.

But, I hear Apple is launching the 2.0 firmware in a couple of weeks. If
that delivers on the promise and makes the touch a truly extensible
platform, I can see the N800 gathering a lot of dust...

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