The other day I was in a debate organized by Nokia in which we were asked by Om Malik about mobile phones and their likelyhood to dethrone the iPod as the music device that people carry around. What follows is a very personal analysis of the comparison of this week´s test of alternatively walking around with an N80 vs walking around with an iPod.

Cool factor: iPod is still cooler but novelty is wearing out. N80 is a multipurpose device, amazing functionality but its design can´t compare to the simple beauty of an iPod (are they at the MOMA shops yet?)

Amount of Songs: N80 can only compare to nano iPods, other than that the 2GB memory is way too small. What can however make an N80 beat an iPod is the ability to download songs or especially to stream music through the internet via WiFi or 3G, especially WiFi since 3G is such a rip off. When an N80 becomes something like a Music Gremlin then it is much better than carrying an iPod.

Software: iTunes is a million times better than the software that comes with Nokia to listen to music. Windows media is also a say, half a million times better. Still there is something that you can do when you listen to music in the N80 that you cannot do with an iPod that it is extremely important to me and that is that you can INTERACT with your music. With an N80 when I find a song I like I can send it to a friend, I can add it to a playlist, I can set it as a ring tone, I can rate it, with an iPod the listening process is a very lonely moment. It´s you and your music, you can´t rate it, you can´t share it, you can´t do anything special with it.

Other things you can do with the gadget: ok, ipods are small, but so is the N80, and when you have an N80 you can film, take pictures, write e mail, text, call, make internet calls for free, blog films, pictures or text, view videos and listen to music. With the iPod you can do the last two things, view videos and listen to music. The N80 is a social device, the iPod has this wanker element to it that I dislike.

Bottom line is that as of this weekend I am only carrying the N80 for music and not the iPod anymore. Now if an iPod shows up tomorrow with 3G, WiFi, and all the bells and whistles of the Nokia N80 I will be ready to change my mind again. In the meantime there´s the Motorola Razor with iTunes which I would carry if it wasn´t that the camera is 1.3 megapixels and not 3 like the N80 and the email platform is really bad.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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