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First reviewers like Nokia music service

Opinions of Nokia's Comes With Music are beginning to trickle out of the U.K., and so far most reviewers are impressed with the software side of the service.

I've written about Nokia's Comes With Music service several times, but the service officially kicked off Wednesday in the U.K. And the first hands-on reviews--from Music Ally and IDG News--are mostly positive.

The Nokia 5310 Xpress Music is the first phone to support Nokia's Comes With Music initiative. CNET Reviews

In particular, reviewers are praising the PC software's intuitive interface and the relatively painless registration process. Access to the free music comes courtesy of a code printed on the inside of the phone's box. Downloads are almost unlimited, although Nokia has a clause that warns it might temper downloads if a certain undisclosed average number of downloads per user is reached.

The big problems: no burning to CD unless you pay per download, no over-the-air downloads, and a slow transfer time from PC to phone. Nobody seems to be gasping too much at the fact that the songs are in Windows Media Audio format and are DRM-protected, meaning you will never be able to play them on an iPod or other device if you ever grow tired of your Nokia phone.

I'm still having a bit of trouble figuring out the target market here. Digital music fans...who want to download a lot of new music without paying for every song and have never heard of free file-sharing...and who want a choice of phone types at different prices (the 5310 has PIM-like capabilities but isn't a smartphone, while the 5800 is a full smartphone with touch screen and more)...but are Nokia loyalists and don't intend to play their downloads on any other portable device, ever. How many people fit into all those categories?