Amazon Coming To Europe, Is The Nokia Music Store Ready?
Competition for Nokia's Music Store perhaps? Amazon have announced the expected expansion of their DRM-Free MP3 Store from the American market into international territories will happen in 2008, although the press release does not give any indication of when this will happen. Thanks to the MP3 format, pretty much any smartphone should be able to handle Amazon downloaded songs, as opposed to the DRM restrictions Nokia's Windows Media based store will have; and Nokia's in-device advantage is limited to a subset of N-Series devices.
Fantastic news; I know which one I'll be using. People who've mucked about with uPNP streaming will have found that using free software (like the SimpleCenter included with the N95), it just doesn't work properly with anything other than good old-fashioned MP3s. The DRM'd WMAs you get from the Nokia Music Store don't even come close. If you store the good quality MP3s from Amazon on your PC, space isn't really a problem, and you can always convert them to smaller M4A or AAC+ or OGG or whatever for storage on the phone.
Great news indeed (even though I live in the US)! I am 100% sure Nokia is trying to push their music supplier partners (i.e. record companies) towards DRM free music (I don't really see why Nokia wouldn't), and Amazon's entry into Europe will only make it easier to convince them of it - unless Amazon has some very strong exclusivity agreements for DRM free distribution.
I.e. the race is not over by any means. In the end especially the OTA part of the market boils down to user friendliness, integration and price. I think the Nokia Music Store looks ok, but I am not sure if the "browse around with the curson on the screen" interface is the most intuitive and snappy approach... Forthcoming TS interface should help, but that's at least a year down the line.