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When is a platform not a platform?

The Wireless Report asks whether advanced music phones will ever be able to compete with the iPod and comes up skeptical owing to the product’s extensive ecosystem. I’m more bullish on such products. Yes, we’re in the early days but we’ve already seen great strides forward and even Apple concedes that music phones are bound to improve, hence the empty admission that they’re “not doing nothing” in the space.

Something I haven’t seen much coverage about regarding the iPod is that, despite its increasing functionality, media support and vast range of accessories that have developed over the years, Apple has not opened it up to developers the way Palm did with the original Pilot. Want to develop a new game for the iPod? You can’t. One could argue that a platform or API didn’t really save the PDA in the end, but it continues to be important in the realm of smartphones, which could be the iPod’s future and is certainly one direction for portable digital music in general.