Kudos to Alice Hill's Real Tech News blog for marking the 10th anniversary of the mp3 player.
As Alice reminds us, the first mp3 player only held about 8 songs (or three if the songs were "Stairway to Heaven", "Freebird" and "Paradise by the Dashboard Light").
The iPod with 160 gigs holds 40,000 songs, by comparison. I think this blows Moore's law out of the water.
It's not just capacity that has changed, however. Portable digital handhelds that store music (and now video) have become a business tool.
There's the obvious; podcasting. It's a new way to get your message out, connect with colleagues and clients, and position yourself as a leading expert in your field.
As a user, it's a handy way to pick up mini-professional development lessons on the fly, while multi-tasking.
So, where is this all going?
The mp3 has already found its way into many cell phone models. An analyst I spoke with just last week predicted off the record that the iPhone and iPod will merge into one device as early as this year. She is not alone. I think everyone is expecting that.
What are the opportunities and creative applications of this technology once it hits critical mass bundled in with other handhelds?
We're all used to storing a bajillion numbers in our cell phones. What could we do with the capacity to store a bajillion media files. How would we use them or need them on the go?
Imagine being able to download virtual tours of all the houses in MLS by a certain criteria (price, location, size) and then storing them to flip through later?
Imagine giving a power point presentation and then offering your audience the chance to download the .ppt file of your slide show onto their smart phones and look through those screens again on their own time.
Imagine going to a conference to network and, along with passing around your business card, passing around a two minute video of your elevator pitch for potential clients to go back and ponder at a later date. Do it in video and there's a chance they'll be able to remember your name and face together for future reference.
Think of similar possibilities to promote your business at a trade show. Wouldn't a mini-media presentation be more memorable take away than a brochure for folks visiting your booth.
Believe me, you won't have to wait another ten years for any of this. For many, the power to do it now is literally in the palm of their hands.