Lacking Standard Digital Media
Bill Palmer thinks that SonicBlue killed itself. I agree for the most part, but they were also seriously hurt by the lack of a standard digital media card. I've got access to a Sony mini-disc player, a Canon digital camera, an iPod, and an iRock mp3 player (the latter two via my girlfriend). So we've got mini-disc, compactflash, smartmedia and hard disk based consumer electronics. And the storage media played a role in the selection of each of these devices.
The camera was first. I was going on vacation for two weeks and I wanted to take a digital camera and leave my laptop at home. That meant I needed a camera that accepted an IBM micro-drive (compactflash 2). With an existing investment in compactflash, I tried in vain to find a compatible mp3 player. I ended up getting the mini-disc player to take advantage of the low media cost. My girlfriend is an avid runner and listens to the iRock on the track. And finally, the iPod lets her keep all her music on one device.
We've ended up with 3 music devices and each has it's advantages. My girlfriend still uses the iRock on the track. It's light and has the lowest replacement cost in case of breakage. But she uses the iPod on business trips because it's got everything on it. I still like the mini-disc on trips because it takes an AA battery. So I put up with the handfull of discs in exchange for the ease of an AA battery (I use rechargables at home and throwaways on the road).