The Mobilphone is an iPod clone with a 5GB drive and a USB 2.0 interface. The iPod, of course, rules for a number of reasons, but one of the biggies is that by using FireWire to synch MP3s with your computer, the iPod is capable of filling itself up with music in a matter of minutes. USB 2.0 leapfrogs FireWire and delivers even greater speed. So far, so good.
But for "security" reasons, the Mobilphone will only play music that has been encrypted with Toshiba's proprietary cipher. The encryption happens when you use Toshiba's software to synch your Mobilphone with your PC. Now, leave aside for the moment that this means that without (illegally, under the DMCA) reverse-engineering the crypto, no vendor except Toshiba and its licensees will ever be able to deliver a client for the Mobilphone (so forget about Linux, BSD, Mac or device-to-device apps), and that if Toshiba's fly-sized attention-span wanders away from the device, you'll be stuck holding a 5GB boat anchor.
Yes, leave that aside, because there's an immediate, non-hypothetical reason that Toshiba's brainless crypto-scheme is a stupid, anti-customer idea. The encryption of your music happens on the fly, as you synch your Mobilphone with your PC. That encryption process is CPU-intensive, so much so that it slows the USB 2.0 interface to USB 1.1 speeds. In other words, despite the presence of some truly azz-kicking, bleeding-edge interface technology, the Mobilphone synchs no faster than it would have if it had a poky old 1.1 bus.
Pracitically speaking this means that synching ten albums takes eight minutes instead of fifty seconds. I have an iTunes "Advanced Playlist" that grabs 5GB of random, high-rated music from my pool of 20GB of MP3s and synchs them every time I plug my iPod in -- it takes a minute or two. With the Mobilphone, it'd take all afternoon. Rip. Mix. Wait. Link Discuss (via Gizmodo)
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