Sunday, 26 November 2006 21:42

Zune not needed for 'squirting'

By
Got a hankering to try out the Zune’s squirting feature? Well, why wait? Your relatively modern mobile phone can do it now.

If you live in the US, and are so keen to try out squirting your music to the handful of other Zune owners out there, just pop into your local electronics store and ask to see a Zune. There are plenty available, it’s not like they’re selling out like the PS3’s and Wii’s.

Reports indicate that legal music downloads are picking up, but instead of this being big news, most of the news around the portable music world have revolved around the Zune and it’s new ability to ‘squirt’ music to compatible players.

While this is something that Apple could easily enable the 2007 iPods to do if they so wanted, whether by Wi-Fi as with the Zune, or by Bluetooth as modern mobile phones are capable of doing today, there’s no guarantee that Apple follows other companies to any great degree, as Apple plays the game always on their own terms.

While squirting (really wirelessly transferring) music from one device to another is a fabulous way to share it with others, Microsoft forgets that this so-called innovation doesn’t require a Zune at all to experience.

It was only earlier today that I saw a hospitality worker on a break listening to some audio on his Samsung smartphone. When I asked what it was, because I could hear it from the phone’s loudspeakers, he said that it was a funny audio file.

I asked whether he’d received it by MMS, the souped up version of SMS text messaging that allows you to send a photo, short video clip or an audio clip along with text in your mobile phone message, and his reply was ‘no... I got it by Bluetooth’.

What this clearly means is that someone else (likely a friend) with a Bluetooth capable phone of virtually any brand sent this audio clip to the hospitality worker who was now listening to it.
With Bluetooth a widespread standard on most phones, I could have asked him to send the file to me if I wanted it, just by sending it over a Bluetooth connection, and it would have worked easily and transferred quickly.

So ‘squirting’ has been with us for some time, with millions more people, especially older kids in schools with a Bluetooth capable phone, wirelessly transferring information between each other every day.

Squirting is cool, but it was and still is cool long before Microsoft got in the act. And with the Zune, their squirting is severely limited by only being able to squirt to one person, who cannot on-squirt the file to someone else, and with the file self destructing on your player within 3 days or 3 listens.

Mobile phone based squirting has no such limitations with non-DRM’d files, which is what people are sending between each other.

So, squirt away. Millions already do!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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