I’m one of those guys who need to constantly have a PMP on my person at all times. Needless to say I have the perfect job. But the world today is just like me. Every third person in any given train compartment or bus has a set of earphones stuck in their ears watching videos, listening to the radio or their music stored on memory cards. There are those obnoxious ones of course who insist on using the handset's speakerphone as the medium for playback thus forcing those in the vicinity to listen to the cacophonic sounds emitting from their handsets. These are the worst kind of mobile media users.

The mobile handset has of course become the epitome of the mobile multimedia standard. Although I don’t see the PMP or MP3 player market taking a back seat as newer models of both these devices are being launched, upgraded or updated in a timely fashion for the connoisseurs of portable media. But the mobile handset is becoming more sophisticated especially when it comes to media capabilities, eg a Dolby Mobile engine in LG handsets that substantially enhances the user’s audio experience. Samsung’s proprietary DNSe also makes the same promise with an option to choose a 5.1 Surround Sound Out. EQ presets, customizable settings from 5-8 set graphic EQ’s that allow users to have more control over the kind of experience they want to have.

When it comes to a handset’s video capabilities having a larger screen isn’t the first thing you should look for. Sure viewing will be more comfortable on the eyes but what really gets to me personally is the lack of mobile video format codecs being absent. Of course there are those few companies that seem more concerned with providing us with the optimum video experience on our mobile handsets to the extent that they would include a TV option coupled with DivX and XviD format support. This setting is perfect as you can simply plug your handset into a TV or projector and playback a file without having to worry about the resolution. It also saves you the time of finding a video converter and then sitting to convert a video you want to watch on the go all the time. Drag and drop, that’s the ticket.

Mobile phone cameras have also become significantly more upscale with the advancement into the 8 and 12 megapixel range. With a singular device we can now capture images, listen to music, watch videos and get our work done all while sitting in a train. Mobile phone manufactures have designed higher megapixel cameras to record video in Hi-Def formats up to 720p and there’s even talk of that being boosted to 1080p. Quality and features would of course differ from using a conventional Hi-Def camcorder or camera, nevertheless the fact that we can carry around that capability in a device less than half the size and weight of a camera is a very big deal.

And finally it’s the FM radio that is a very necessary component these days that for some could make or break the purchase decision of a handset. Of course this isn’t a very relevant feature you’d look for in a Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 30,000 handset; it would be considered in this case to be a fringe benefit. However for those who can’t afford handsets in that price range and are looking for as much media as possible, a FM radio is essential. We have nine radio stations to choose from which is a lot thus making it a very popular medium among the masses. A majority of handsets that incorporate an FM radio into their feature set also include recording capabilities which I’m quite a fan of. There was a time, before the CD and torrents when the cassette tape and player/recorder and radio were all we had. It was probably the first form of music piracy. Record the latest tracks off the radio and you’re set, with your ‘Walkman’ taking precedence in the field of mobile media.

We’ve come a long way since that time and the digital mediums have since then taken on a whole new level of competency. It’s easier to back up your multimedia even from your mobile phone to your PC, laptop netbook etc. or even to online servers thus making us even more relaxed knowing that you’ll never have to worry about losing it all. In today’s fast paced world of technology I’m happy that we still get a chance, be it in the overcrowded trains and buses, traffic jams, waiting to get your teeth pulled, or have your head examined and even during our fitness regimen, to relax and unwind with some form of media on a small convenient to tote around device. It just allows us to take a break from the real world irrespective of where we are or what the situation might be and of course it really helps pass the time or planes wouldn’t have TVs onboard with a multitude of media to offer. To many it’s a way to take your mind off the fact that you’re stuck inside a metal tube thousands of miles off the ground. To others it’s a way to drown out the annoying chatter of the daily commute. Irrespective of circumstances or situations, mobile media is a Godsend.