I just wandered over to the Spice booth to see their weird optical-disk-reading phone. It was pretty clunky and I probably wouldn’t use it, but that won’t stop the rest of the world from giving it a go.
A lot of us forget that IP-based media, in the aggregate, is unfairly distributed. Overlay a heat map on the globe and you’d see white hot action in most of Asia, warmish action in Europe, and a tepid glow in the US. Then head over to developing nations and it would probably be almost dark. That’s why Spice is trying to sell videos on mini-optical disks that pop into your cellphone. Some parts of India have 1% DVD penetration, so there’s still a chance for something like this to take hold. Is it a great solution? Probably not. Is it acceptable? Sure.
These guys are actually more of a media company than a handset manufacturer, it looks like, but these prototypes are actually fairly compelling.