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Samsung Set To Introduce Android-Based iPod Touch Competitor

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the touch-and-go dept.

Media 221

blixtech writes "Virtually unchallenged in the portable media player market, Apple's iPod Touch is set to receive a pretty strong competitor at CES 2011. Samsung has just announced they will showcase an Android-powered PMP called the Galaxy Player, featuring almost the same hardware as the Galaxy S smartphone."

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This will really confuse a good fanboi (2)

gearloos (816828) | more than 3 years ago | (#34734874)

Android and Itouch? they'll never figure it out.

The usual $50.00 question... (2)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34734902)

The usual $50.00 question I have for any Android device: How easy is it for this device to be rooted? An additional question would be how easy it is to flash a custom ROM image.

I just hope it isn't too hard to have custom, fast ROM images for this device.

Re:The usual $50.00 question... (2)

Atari400 (1174925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735014)

I got a Samsung Galaxy I7500, and it's stuck at 1.5 - Samsung aren't upgrading it at all. I wouldn't recommend buying Samsung Android equipment - HTC looks a much better bet.

Re:The usual $50.00 question... (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735580)

The Nexus S is made by Samsung and is, along with the Nexus 1, tied for the most upgradable phone available currently.

Re:The usual $50.00 question... (4, Informative)

yincrash (854885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735050)

The Galaxy S phones are ridiculously easy to get root access. It's just a manual software update using the normal update mechanism. Samsung doesn't do the things that Motorola and HTC have been putting in their phones to try and prevent rooting. I suspect that the Galaxy Player would be the same.

Re:The usual $50.00 question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34735328)

I own a $150 random brand android 7 inch tablet.
There are devs out there that root and develop for it, even if its only like 2 people doing all the work.
The releases are slow(im sure they have a lot of other projects) but its still fun to tinker with.
I doubt any android device that is free from the grips of Bing-related things that it will be OPEN enough to root with a couple commands.

Re:The usual $50.00 question... (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735376)

It won't really matter. This is the just the first group of iPad-esque devices, if the market takes there will be so many most companies won't bother implementing Apple type security. Why bother anyway? Every company will have to either implement their own special sauce or depend on someone else's, once one becomes more popular then it will be hacked if everyone tries their own it's likely none of them will be any good to begin with and upkeep of patches will be more cost then it's worth. I'm hoping we get a few nice dual/quad core models by the end of 2011 with a few GB of RAM and a decent GPU oh ya and throw in a laser projector too.

So do I get my $50 now ?

Re:The usual $50.00 question... (1)

pantherace (165052) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735654)

At least based upon the Galaxy S/Vibrant, which I'm starting to regret (see below), Samsungs have been very easy to root, and flash custom hardware. (I haven't yet rooted it, because I haven't had time to play with that.)

No physical keyboard. The more I deal with touchscreen only, the more I hate the lack of it.
Samsung's delayed 2.2 release. Seriously, the offical release had been promised, then pushed back to November, then before End of the Year, now...

So basically, for Samsung, I'd bet on not much official support.

Virtually unchallenged? (3, Interesting)

bfree (113420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34734936)

What's so different about this Samsung compared to the range of Archos Android devices like the 43it [archos.com] (I don't care about Android myself so at a guess there are plenty of other devices out there)? Is the "virtually unchallenged" moniker in any way warranted?

Re:Virtually unchallenged? (3, Interesting)

Trev311 (1161835) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735044)

The Archos devices have several limitations that put them at a clear disadvantage compared to the iPod Touch. First of all, they do not have access to the Android Market. Sure there are other, smaller, markets and I'm sure those are great, but most people are going to want to run the same Android "Apps" on a PMP and a Phone. Much like the iOS devices. Archos also chose to go with a resistive screen instead of capacitive screen that makes a fairly big difference in usage. Go to a BestBuy and play with the an Archos, if they have one set up near you, and then an iPod Touch and you should see the difference.

So yes the moniker is warranted because there hasn't been something that can stand up to the iPod Touch and seem even somewhat impressive. Hopefully this will bring some competition to the market.

Re:Virtually unchallenged? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34735256)

Both of your "disadvantages" are advantages to me. I don't want some marketplace on my MP3 player cluttering things up, I want it to play music in high quality. I also prefer resistive screens to capacitive due to their higher resolution, better accuracy and ability to be used with anything or with gloves on.

Re:Virtually unchallenged? (3, Insightful)

will_die (586523) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735390)

If you only want a music player then why are you looking ios or android device? Go get a Cowon player they generally have the best audio and don't have those other capabilities.

Re:Virtually unchallenged? (1)

crasher35 (787091) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735616)

Personally, I don't want just a music player. I would like something like the iPod Touch that is not locked down to Apple's ecosystem. So why not just get an Android phone? I want the capabilities of a device like that but lack the funds or the need to be constantly connected (i.e. I'm broke and I can't afford a data plan). Buying an Android phone unlocked is very expensive and all contracts I've seen require you to sign up for data if the company is to subsidize the phone. A device like this will (ideally) be competitively priced.

Re:Virtually unchallenged? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34735752)

I wasn't referring to only Android devices, but non-iPod MP3 players in general, including ones that might be running Android. Most quality MP3 players these days have full colour touchscreens and can play videos, so good options for a music only player are very limited. Currently I use a Zen X-Fi2 despite it not having physical buttons and doing more than I want because it has expandable memory and no other player comes close to the sound quality it produces.

Re:Virtually unchallenged? (3, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735784)

The reason Archos devices don't have Android marketplace is because they fail the compatible device document and therefore do not qualify to ship it. Why don't they qualify? Because they (sensibly) omit a bunch of crap mandated in the CDD which a PMP has no good reason for needing - compass, gps, camera etc. The CDD as it exists makes sense for phones, it makes no sense for other kinds of devices.

The only way Samsung can stay compliant with the CDD is if a) Google change the CDD in Android 3.0 to specify a range of device profiles (a way overdue change) or b) Samsung bloat the price of their device by packing it with superfluous features.

a) is obviously the most preferable option. The CDD really should be specifying basic and extended profiles for tablets, media players, ereaders etc. Expecting tablets to be glorified giant phones is just going to stymie the Android tablet market and confuse everyone.

Re:Virtually unchallenged? (4, Informative)

samkass (174571) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735048)

What's so different about this Samsung compared to the range of Archos Android devices...

The Archos uses resistive touch screen with much lower resolution. It doesn't connect to the Android Marketplace for apps. They're not built in any quantity so are always "Out of Stock" (go ahead... I dare you to try to actually buy a 43it). And for that it's basically the same price as the iPod Touch. It's hard to say they're a competitor when almost no one can actually buy one.

Samsung, though, is a household name associated with quality products, and more to the point they operate their own screen and chip fabs so can actually make the things in quantity. I could see an iPod Touch competitor from them actually being real.

Re:Virtually unchallenged? (1)

crasher35 (787091) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735668)

If I could, I would mod you up as informative! Thank you, that explains it all right there.

Re:Virtually unchallenged? (1)

crasher35 (787091) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735666)

What's so different about this Samsung compared to the range of Archos Android devices like the 43it [archos.com] (I don't care about Android myself so at a guess there are plenty of other devices out there)? Is the "virtually unchallenged" moniker in any way warranted?

I hate to be a troll, but this comment will inevitably be just that...

The reason why is:

Because Archos will forever be the Tech world's underdog

Because I have never seen Archos actually try and market a device (just their fan base)

Because Samsung's marketing department is undoubtedly superior.

If no one ever heard of it, no one will buy it. I constantly keep tabs on gadget/tech news and releases and I have never heard of this device. And trust me, I have been looking out for a device like this for a long time now. How would you expect the general public to ever find out. I've never used an Archos product myself, so I can't say anything either way. They could be some of the most amazing gadgets ever (and many have claimed they are). But they remain virtually unknown.

Re:Virtually unchallenged? (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735688)

There's also the ZuneHD, which while hardly a runaway success has nonetheless competed with some success for a year or so. It doesn't have the iOS glut of apps, but it deos support third-party apps and have a marketplace. The hardware is better than on the 43it, too, with a much better touchscren and things like HD Radio capability.

Re:Virtually unchallenged? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34735736)

Please give us break with this Zune crap. If it was all that great we would all have one.

It had beter be able to runs apps. (1, Interesting)

crovira (10242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34734938)

What is behind Apple's success?

Its that, after an initial period of letting people rip, mix and burn their existing content for their iPods, they were able to launch the iTunes Music Store (iTMS) which now serves up music, movies, TV shows, books, apps and podcasts and do it for cheap or for free.

Apple is just grafting other software services onto the iTMS and they're keeping iron clad control over the user experience on the hardware.

Will anyone else?

Re:It had beter be able to runs apps. (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735242)

Apple products also enjoy the luxury of always having the hardware and OS all share the same creator. Couple that with the iron clad quality control over applications that are distributed through their store, and you have a consistently pleasant experience for the consumer.

Re:It had beter be able to runs apps. (0)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735448)

If be "pleasant" you mean having to buy a new device every 24 months.

And your anecdote of "but my iJunk lasted for x years!" doesn't change this.

Re:It had beter be able to runs apps. (-1, Troll)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735508)

Your anecdote doest change the fact that my iPod has lasted since 2002 just fine.

See? I can do it too. Now go wash your mouth out you filthy little cock sucker.

Re:It had beter be able to runs apps. (0, Troll)

jordan_robot (1830144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735564)

Troll harder. I know you're just being a trendy hater, but perhaps you should provide arguments to back up your claims. And by the way,

And your anecdote of "but my iJunk lasted for x years!" doesn't change this.

- way to stick your fingers in your ears. As for me, I still enjoy my 4+ year old apple laptop, iphone and ipod. They still work great, so I don't know what the hell your going on about.

Oh yeah, don't forget to mod me into oblivion for liking apple products.

Re:It had beter be able to runs apps. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735672)

All my friends who have iPods are on their 3rd, 4th or even 5th by now. It's not clear that the old oneas break, but they do keep buying new ones.

Whereas I still have my Archos Gmini xs202 20GB from 2005...

Re:It had beter be able to runs apps. (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735496)

Constantly consistent if you choose to use everything Apple. A total pain in the rear if you don't. Sure, if you have several thousand dollars to spend on getting -everything- Apple you will have a decent user experience, but if you don't it is a complete pain. Take for instance iTunes on Windows. First off, the thing pretty much has to install 1/4th of OS X to even run, because of this, it is easily the slowest running music player out there when compared to native, or lightweight applications like Foobar2000 or VLC. Quite honestly, iTunes is the reason I no longer really use my iPod touch. Everything in iTunes managed to be a complete pain when compared to my Android phone. With my phone, I just plug in a USB cable, mount my SD card as a USB storage device and copy and paste my new music from Amazon MP3. With iTunes it had to back up all my data, applications, etc. which took forever and quite honestly there was very little worth backing up in the first place, I mean, really I'll take the risk that my Final Fantasy II save file might be deleted if something goes terribly wrong. Then when you download things from iTunes it takes -forever- not to download the files but to "process" them, the UI is sluggish and iTunes seems to think it needs updated all the time. Yes, I want to download a new iOS version for my iPod touch and I really don't care about the fact that I'm using iTunes 8, 9, 10 or whatever. And no, I shouldn't need a Core i7 to manage my music and "sync" a device, when Foobar2000, VLC and pretty much every single application other than iTunes works just fine, it is a problem with iTunes.

I'll take my "harder" approach that takes 3 minutes to get music/video/etc. to my device than take the 20 minute ordeal that is iTunes any day.

You're obviously not a CONSUMER, you're a TECHIE. (2, Interesting)

crovira (10242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735636)

I don't begrudge you your Achos stuff, or whatever you're using, but its not quite as seamless as using Apple OS X 10.6.5 stuff.

It definitely does NOT take me 20 minutes to spend my money at the iTMS. (The downloads come in at about 20mb/s in NYC. May I suggest you get a better performing ISP. :-)

I use VLC, QuickTime, WindowsMedia, whatever, and my old 2.66 Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro is quite capable of keeping up with whatever I throw at it, even in 1080p.

Apple is definitely a maker of good CONSUMER grade stuff.

Its a question of the choices one makes.

Re:It had beter be able to runs apps. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34735810)

In may not be obvious, but you do not have to use iTunes to manage your iPod. Google is your friend. Also, it would be in your best interest to invest in Mac OS X for a better iExperience.

New and improved? (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34734956)

I'm rooting for devices like this, but the android 1.5 phone I had was in my opinion pretty poor for music. I didn't like the interface at all, there wasn't any slick way to manage the music like there is with iTunes... I hope they take ease of use into account and improve on the crappy music implementation I was dealing with.

Re:New and improved? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735254)

I love iPhone, but I hate Itunes on the desktop. In my limited experience with it, the way to transfer music to the device isn't intuitive, nor how to back up the files, or downloading them from the device to the computer should the Windows go bad. I can't imagine it better for the other file types -- I presuppose all this is some sort of concession to the MPAA/RIAA for one reason or another.

I guess I have the same complaint with a lot of software these days. Even photo managers like iPhoto or Picasa or confusing to the extreme for me when it comes to these operations -- as a long time computer geek, I'm used to manipulating files and not having those structures hidden from me in order to construct some different type of analogy like photo rolls (perhaps easier on a newbie) on the software's behalf. Which is why I find something like Digikam much easier for me, and since I'm not hardcore on music, just use Pandora.

It has a GPS too (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34734958)

...but will the GPS actually work? (Galaxy S owner here...)

Re:It has a GPS too (1)

Richy_T (111409) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735146)

+1 to this. Never buying Samsung again

OooOooOoo Tell Me More! (1)

EETech1 (1179269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735300)

I was strongly considering a Galaxy phone to be my next phone. Can you please tell me more of what you didnt like about it!?

You could optionally mention something(s) you like as well!

Thanks / Cheers / Happy New Year!

Re:OooOooOoo Tell Me More! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34735352)

Its a good phone, but a small HARDWARE design flaw Samsung refuses to admit. Apparently, the antenna spring connector has a poor connection. The GPS DSP has tons of noise to deal with. Sometimes the GPS works, but performance is always poor. My G1 GPS would always track me inside the room inside my house. The Samsung Galaxy S GPS would sometimes get my in my neighbor's house if I am lucky or if it worked at all.

Re:It has a GPS too (1)

michrech (468134) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735416)

My GPS works perfectly after the 2.2.1 update (Sprint Epic "4G"). The updates El Goog made to Maps has made things even better while traveling. :D

About Time (2)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34734964)

I don't understand why it's taken this long. The iPod has been on top of this market for ages. It may not be as lucrative as it used to be, but Apple wouldn't be in it if they weren't making a decent amount of money. Apple is probably able to control a decent portion of the market if only because they can keep costs low through scale, but Android vendors should be able to cut costs and take lower profits. This is probably the first legitimate iPod competitor in a long time.

The only question is if this market is worthwhile anymore. Smartphones have most likely already started to cannibalize PMP sales. Once they become truly ubiquitous, how much of a market is left for devices of such caliber without phone capability.

Re:About Time (1, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735054)

I don't understand why the iPod ever got to the top. It was never the best player, never had the best features and the audio quality was never particularly great. Not that any iPod owner would know seeing as most of them seem to use the included ear buds.

As far as I can tell the only thing they did right was make it idiot proof with the lack of software to put music on and a huge marketing campaign.

Re:About Time (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735162)

You must be new here! Seriously you're about to start a flame war

Re:About Time (3, Insightful)

Richy_T (111409) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735170)

The scroll wheel was nice. Being able to locate the music you wanted to listen to quickly definitely made for a better experience. Touch screens have since made that much less important.

Always the best (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735178)

It was never the best player

Actually it was; just not by metrics you choose to deem important.

Re:Always the best (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735350)

Care to share those metrics?

Re:Always the best (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735382)

Care to share those metrics?

GP's fanboi-ism.

I had a Cowon Iaudio 7, You could plug that thing into a speaker and it would play perfectly at it's top volume, an Ipod or Ipod touch would distort at about 75% and I'm not an audiophile, A$30 for a pair of headphones is a lot for me, the distortion from the Ipod was quite noticeable at 80-90% vol.

The only thing Apple has is marketing and it's quickly losing that, the Iphone had the unintended side effect of convincing people they didn't need a separate MP3 player and started using the MP3 player on their Nokia, Sony-Eriksson and Samsung phones.

Re:Always the best (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735454)

Actually a separate MP3 player is a must when in the gym. Trying to carry around even the smallest smartphone is a chore. Either you carry it in your hand or get one of those dorky looking armband harnesses. As for the sound quality, it's good enough for me. I enjoy my music to the extent that I've purchased a good set of headphones for my home computer.... but I don't think much about the nuance of sound color when running a 5K.

Re:Always the best (1)

Shimmer (3036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735528)

an Ipod or Ipod touch would distort at about 75%

I call B.S.

I plug my iPod Touch into a Bose Wave (another device hated by audiophiles) and it sounds crystal clear at 100% output. In fact, I think it's foolish to output at anything less than 100% when you're listening through speakers, because then you are forcing that system's amplifier to work harder, which does introduce distortion.

Re:Always the best (3, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735614)

hammering your amp's low power input to save "wear" on the part thats been designed to actually do work

Brilliant

Re:Always the best (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735366)

It was never the best player Actually it was; just not by metrics you choose to deem important.

So what metrics made it the best? I thought my 1st gen nano was a waste of money (not to say all their ipods were garbage, but the one I got should have cost 1/2 of what they sold it for)

That's something not many of us can work out. (2)

Mr EdgEy (983285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735182)

I can see why the iPhone gained and maintains the market share it does. Disregarding the whole 'closed garden' thing which is only relevant to us /.ers, it was genuinely the first decent touchscreen phone and continues to match its rivals in anything Joe Public cares about. iPad generally the same deal. The iPod? Fuck knows. Probably the same reason adidas, Nike and A&F do so well. It just took off for whatever reason, and now in the eyes of most, anything else is like buying store's own brand food (that's a story for another day!)

Re:About Time (4, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735186)

They made it 'idiot proof' (translation: 'Easy to use') and they coupled it with a library of music that is also 'easy to use'. The 'best features' of the other MP3 players were trying to compensate for their lack of a good/popular legit source of music.

The reason you don't understand is that you're neglecting iTunes.

Re:About Time (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735228)

As far as I can tell the only thing they did right was make it idiot proof

Thats a huge advantage given the number of idiots out there.

Re:About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34735316)

As usual a fandroid overlooks ease of use as the best feature.

Re:About Time (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735332)

As far as I can tell the only thing they did right was make it idiot proof with the lack of software to put music on and a huge marketing campaign.

Which is what most people wanted to be "right"...and let's not forget the other ace in the whole: the iTunes Music Store. Apple was the first to get both the player and ability to buy music cheaply and easily for just about anyone to use. Before iTMS it was buy a $15 CD even if you only wanted a couple tracks or pirate the music via Napster/Limewire/etc.. With the iTMS they allowed people the ability to purchase only a track or two at $.99 each if that was all we wanted. The two proved to be a good combination of the right technologies at the right price. I know I spent about the same amount on music on iTMS as before iTMS, only it seemed like I was getting a lot more for my money. I probably spent about $150 a year before on music, probably for 50 - 60 tracks I really wanted. Now that $150 bought me 150 tracks that I wanted to listen to and it did for a lot of other people was well. If this device doesn't have a music store that rivals iTunes, it may satisfy a few geeks here on slashdot, but it's going to be a fail to the average consumer.

Re:About Time (2)

r3x_mundi (1356467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735340)

You say you don't understand why the iPod ever got to the top, but you list the #1 reason why they did...they made it idiot proof. Most people are not geeks and don't enjoy exploring every piece of functionality or configuration option. Most people arnt idiots either, but they don't have the patience to explore every arcane bit of new technology. Apple just made it work and made the majority of people happy (except geeks).

Re:About Time (1)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735428)

I disagree. People want to explain the iPod's success for some technical reason, but there were non-technical reasons. Apple was a big name in a sea of no-names and had deep pockets and a long term commitment to incremental improvement. Much like IBM succeeded with the PC, Apple succeeded with the iPod. It was, frankly, no more "idiot proof" than other players, people just like to believe it was. Eventually the iPod became the best player technically, but intitially it was far from it.

Re:About Time (2)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735790)

Apple? A big name? In the times of the first gen iPod? That's revisionist history. Yes, Apple was known by geeks, but I assure you that I had talked to many people in that period about getting an Apple Computer. They had vaguely heard about it, but wouldn't know to get one if they wanted one.

Today, Apple is a big name. To the extent that people tend to forget they have an Apple product. Overheard at my wifes-family Chistmas party: Person A:"Say, iPhone, is that the brand?". Person B: "Yes, I think so.".... Me: "No, the brand is Apple and the iPhone is something like a model name". Them: "Glazy eyes". (Of course, the last part may be due to the copious amount of wine that flew.

Re:About Time (4, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735374)

I don't understand why the iPod ever got to the top. It was never the best player, never had the best features and the audio quality was never particularly great. Not that any iPod owner would know seeing as most of them seem to use the included ear buds.

As far as I can tell the only thing they did right was make it idiot proof with the lack of software to put music on and a huge marketing campaign.

Easy. Timing and It Just Works(tm).

First is because the whole "portable digital music" thing was in its infancy and just awaiting its exponential growth. Apple got there are the right time.

Second because they had a player that had the right formfactor, ample storage, and a usable UI. The iPod was the size of a deck of cards with 5GB of storage. Players that size had a whopping 128MB of storage! Expandable with 64MB expansion cards that cost an arm and a leg. And the scroll wheel was one of those "why didn't I think of that?" ways of navigating huge quantities of music. The competitor in storage would be the Creative Nomad, which had the bulk of a really old portable CD player, with a pile of heft. Creative included two sets of batteries because the battery life was fairly atrocious - a couple of hours-ish per set.

Then you had Firewire. Filling 6GB of Nomad storage at USB 1.1 speeds took forever. Filling 5GB of space at Firewire speed took an hour or less.

Finally, you have iTunes. In one app you can do your ripping, library management, and syncing.

And Apple had it in such a combination that when the whole digital music revolution took off around 2003-2004, Apple was right there with product in the store. (The iPod, which was the best selling MP3 player since it came out, only sold its 1 millionth unit 3 years later).

Next, Apple came out with the iTunes music store. Suddenly, a way to legally acquire music easily. Now Joe Q. Public had a stupid-simple way to rip their existing CD collection, to buy music, to manage their music, and to copy their music to their portable player.

And yes, it also helped that all the user had to do was plug the thing in and it would automatically sync and update and everything. Suddenly even tech newbies (e.g., your parents) could manage their iPods themselves and their music collections. And the marketing campaign helped spread the idea that MP3s weren't just a geek thing. Which meant the 99.9% of the non-geek population could suddenly have entire music libraries in their pocket.

And when the non-geek population started getting into this, music stores and DRM-free were the result because they cared. Otherwise who would bother serving the 0.1% geek market?

Re:About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34735460)

iTunes

Re:About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34735488)

"Not that any iPod owner would know seeing as most of them seem to use the included ear buds."

Not all iPod users are as ignorant as you view them. I actually am not an ear bud fan, FYI most players use ear bugs so it's a pointless comment. When I fly I use professional headphones because the are insulated to keep out the ambient noise and the sound quality is excellent. I generally use them at home as well. The whole point that you are missing is the simplicity of use. Players don't need to be a hassle to use to be good. I get to focus on the music and movies I'm watching than figuring out how to import the material. I'm also not a fan of iTunes but the setup is simple to use and maintain. I can find and download a song in about a minute. I like Mac for my media and web surfing. I tend to use PCs for work but they have always been a hassle for media and I've been using Windows for 20 years, DOS before that.

Re:About Time (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735492)

By the time hdd players were getting into my price range, iPod was the cheapest, if not only player on the market.

When second generation nanos came out, they were very price competitive (the larger capacity ones anyway)with flash players, and very nice feature sets.

The touch wheel thingy is pretty cool too.

Own a 60 gig video with rockbox. It was free from someone I know that got an iPhone.

Had a 2gb first generation manor, it too was free from somone else. I love the firm factor (most small players don't fit nice in a jeans coin pocket)

The shuffle and touch never interested me.

Re:About Time (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735082)

The MP3-player is dead. Heck, the PMP is pretty dead to.

Eventually I could almost go as far as saying that the non-enthusiast compact camera market is (rather will soon be) dead to.

* All phones can play music now.
* Plenty of phones can play video.
* Mobile phone cameras become better, and as soon as they are _GOOD ENOUGH_ much better doesn't help much. Regular people don't drag around their camera, they do with their mobile phone.

The Nokia N8 can play 720p 30 fps H.264 video and even got HDMI output for 6 hours of video playback. Beyond a memory card you can also hook up UMS devices such as USB memory sticks or an external hard-drive. If it would had ran MeeGo I assume it would had picked up even more formats faster (as soon as you can get VLC running and play ogg, flag and all the tracker formats such as mod, s3m, xm and so on what more is there to ask for?.)

The camera sensor is 1/1.8", bigger than for instance the latest (?) Canon Powershot SD4500 IS / IXUS 1000 HS (1/2.3".)

http://mynokiablog.com/2010/10/03/the-truth-about-engadgets-nokia-n8-versus-iphone-4/ [mynokiablog.com]
* N8 vs Ixus 130: http://mynokiablog.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/n8ixus-5.png?w=600&h=343 [wordpress.com]
* N8 (2nd) vs iPhone4 (3rd): http://mynokiablog.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/img.png?w=252&h=987 [wordpress.com]

http://thehandheldblog.com/2010/10/04/shootout-nokia-n8-v-canon-550d-dslr/ [thehandheldblog.com]
* N8: http://vaibhavsharma.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/nokia-n8-v-canon-550d-n8-01.jpg [wordpress.com]
* 550D DSLR: http://vaibhavsharma.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/nokia-n8-v-canon-550d-dslr-01.jpg [wordpress.com]

Sure the 550D totally smokes it, but the pictures aren't totally unusable. And that's most that matters.

Re:About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34735110)

Before someone else say it:
FLAC.

So sue me..

Re:About Time (1)

queequeg1 (180099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735346)

+1. I've got about 6,000 CDs ripped to FLAC files on a music server and the idea of having to either reencode to play on an ipod or having to jailbreak the device was enough to get me to buy a Sansa Fuze. Granted, the Fuze is pretty much good for music only (not withstanding the tiny little screen) but at least it plays FLAC files. And it's pretty cheap. And you can insert your own memory cards to seemlessly augment the Fuze's built-in memory.

Re:About Time (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735212)

These things can be used as a Skype video phone over WiFi, without having to pay rip-off cell phone charges.

Re:About Time (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735360)

And any real phone should to ..

Retarded if it's vendor locked in not to and pretty gay if the service provider try to decide such things. I wouldn't accept it. Suck if everyone does it. In that case someone should regulate it all away. Who are they to limit network usage? (Though we've seen caps for downloads as well.)

Re:About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34735304)

yeah, as soon as they come up with a phone that lasts for days while playing streaming music and games I'll give up my standalone player.

Re:About Time (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735394)

True that. Some smarter phones does indeed have a shitty standby time and maybe music playing makes it much worse. Guess it will be less of an issue as computing capability improves.

N8 again:
Standby time (maximum):
        * GSM 390 h
        * WCDMA 400 h
Music playback time (offline mode, maximum): 50 h

Not that many dedicated players play music for much more than that? I know some do. Or maybe many more nowadays?

I wonder if one can assume that battery life of 400 hours = no music or anything else and music life 50 hours = nothing else.

Battery usage is 1/8 when using the phone compared to music playing?
8/9 * 50 = 44 hours of music playing with phone on?

I don't count in streaming music and playing games since I assume either you don't do that on the media player or you do that and don't get the full amount of music playing time there either.

Re:About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34735470)

Should had used 7/8, I'm tired.

Re:About Time (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735094)

I would think because that few companies make both a PMP and a smart phone. The few that do like Samsung have different divisions that handle each and possible little cohesion between the separate groups. Even if they wanted to do so, they first have to make sure they had a successful phone first before basing a a PMP on it. That would take a few product cycles.

The success of this player isn't certain. At this point one of the big advantages of Apple is their app store. Samsung has to leverage the Android store to stand a chance.

Why should they be able to cut costs? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735174)

Android vendors should be able to cut costs and take lower profits

Possibly, but don't forget Apple has a huge advantage because of volume, and similar parts between iOS devices only increase that price advantage. Even lowering margins many companies may not be able to come that close in price.

It's no surprise to me that a company as large as Samsung was the first to be able to produce a viable iPad competitor, and now a Touch competitor. Because of their size they can also get large discounts (or source internally since they make a lot of components).

Year of the Android (3, Interesting)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34734968)

My LG Optimus One cost $200 (without contract), runs Android 2.2 and makes phone calls. I think the PMP market is going to be tough to crack, because manufacturers will have to price their handhelds extremely aggressively to make them appealing in a world that is about to be flooded with some fairly impressive Android phones in the iPod Touch price range. Still, it's a sure sign that 2011 will be the Year of The Android.

Re:Year of the Android (1)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34734998)

My LG Optimus One cost $200 (without contract), runs Android 2.2 and makes phone calls. I think the PMP market is going to be tough to crack, because manufacturers will have to price their handhelds extremely aggressively to make them appealing in a world that is about to be flooded with some fairly impressive Android phones in the iPod Touch price range. Still, it's a sure sign that 2011 will be the Year of The Android.

Kind of like $YEAR is always the Year of the Linux desktop?

Re:Year of the Android (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735156)

Kind of like $YEAR is always the Year of the Linux desktop?

Oh, so THAT'S the problem!


$ echo "The year of the Linux desktop is $YEAR"
The year of the Linux desktop is
$

Re:Year of the Android (1)

chibiace (898665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735280)

well it will be the year of linux on the phone, close enough for me, anyway phones are the new laptops.

Re:Year of the Android (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735056)

Not really, I'm not sure about these days, but there was a point where the cost to the retailer was about half what they were going for, and Apple wasn't allowing any retailer to sell them for less than the list price.

I can't imagine the margins having shrunk by that much over the years.

Re:Year of the Android (2)

jordonwii (1968958) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735100)

The biggest advantage this will have over a phone is that it doesn't require a cell contract/plan. I could easily buy _just_ the LG Optimus, but with a cell contract at $50 a month...$600 a year...I can't do that. An cheap Android device that doesn't require a cell plan would be awesome.

Re:Year of the Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34735208)

Haha... $50 a month.... I know someone who was recently looking for a top-end smartphone; T-Mobile was $90, Sprint was $85, Verizon was $100, ATT was (null). In the end they went with Verizon because they found the Droid X at $0 w/ subsidy (they loved its looks... can't argue with love).

Greatest part is... their cell reception dropped by 3 bars (-30dBm, or -110dBm when I looked). And their 3G speed dropped from 250KB/s to just 80KB/s. Their previous carrier was T-Mobile, btw.

Re:Year of the Android (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735268)

The biggest advantage this will have over a phone is that it doesn't require a cell contract/plan. I could easily buy _just_ the LG Optimus, but with a cell contract at $50 a month...$600 a year...I can't do that.

I got my LG Optimus for zero up front. 20 AUD per month (thats the same as USD at the moment) on Optus, 24 month contract.

Re:Year of the Android (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735384)

I got my LG Optimus for zero up front. 20 AUD per month (thats the same as USD at the moment) on Optus, 24 month contract.

The only issue with that is that you're on the Opt-arse network.

Re:Year of the Android (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735154)

At least in the US, the main reason to suspect that Android based PMP/non-phone devices have a chance is factoring in cellular costs:

The cell modem hardware isn't free; but the overwhelming majority of phone hardware is picked up, mildly subsidized, as the hook to get somebody onto a contract(or at least our month-to-month plan, rather than somebody else's).

There is a good sized market that doesn't really want to pay $80 a month for two years; but has frequent wifi access(most homes, many businesses and places of public congregation, many schools and most college campuses). Loads of kids who have occasional bursts of spending money(their own or holiday/relative); but basically no steady month-to-month income to maintain a full data plan. Plenty of students whose, again, aren't made of money; but whose entire campus is blanketed with wifi.

Were the US cellular market more accessible and dynamic, with doing things like "getting a spartan voice only plan for a bells and whistles smartphone" easy, rather than possible but obscure, it would be much harder to make the case for something that includes everything but the cell modem: the option to drop in a SIM at some point and do some calling would likely be worth the cost. As it is, though, while that isn't actually impossible in the US, it is so far from being the default that it is fairly rarely considered. Thus, selling a pure "PMP", at a price point available because you ditched that extra radio(and either slimmed the device or added more battery...), has a potential to be reasonably attractive.

I know that I would strongly consider one: My home has wifi, my workplace has wifi, if I need wifi on the go there are always coffee shops and snack places willing to oblige me for as long as it takes to nurse my cup of coffee(particularly if, unlike That Laptop Guy, I'm just using something indistinguishable from a phone, and not taking up a multi-person table doing it). I don't make that many phone calls or texts, so I have a dirt-cheap prepaid plan. Now, in an ideal world, I'd carry one less device and(as noted above) use my prepaid SIM in a full phone. That isn't supported, so I suck it up and carry a $20 Motorola dumbphone when I need it. I have virtually no need, and no desire to pay for, particularly on a long term contract, cellular data when I'm within wifi range during virtually all the times that I would want internet access...

Re:Year of the Android (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735302)

I don't make that many phone calls or texts, so I have a dirt-cheap prepaid plan. Now, in an ideal world, I'd carry one less device and(as noted above) use my prepaid SIM in a full phone. That isn't supported, so I suck it up and carry a $20 Motorola dumbphone when I need it.

I'm in the same boat as you... except I do exactly that. I bought an unlocked Nokia N900 and have used it now with both AT&T and T-Mobile prepaid. What's the hang up?

Re:Year of the Android (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735440)

Tracphone happened to be cheapest at the time, per minute, and their interpretation of SIM related standards is, shall we say, 'creative with a side of control freak'. My attempts to make the SIM work in other, unlocked, handsets were not wildly successful...

Re:Year of the Android (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735478)

Ah, okay. Even the Wikipedia article says "other GSM handsets will not accept TracFone SIM cards, even if unlocked".

Re:Year of the Android (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735504)

I sort of wanted to add that I didn't know that there were phones that used SIM cards but still weren't interchangable like that. I guess I was wrong.

Re:Year of the Android (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735626)

From what poking around I've done, apparently the SIM does some sort of custom(or at least unusual) IMEI verification before talking to the phone. I don't really understand the business case for doing this; but maybe it has something with the various buy-able 'features' baked into the (lousy) custom firmware on the phone provided....

I suspect that cracking it would probably be quite doable for somebody skilled in the art and, if Tracphone wasn't a synonym for 'Either doesn't care, or lives in a cardboard box, or needs a 1-time-use phone for that big drug deal' you could probably buy little spoofer devices that slip between the SIM and the phone, the same way you can for iPhones. As it is, though, Tracphones themselves are barely worth unlocking, and Tracphone customers are probably not a terribly attractive market.

Galaxy, huh? (5, Funny)

n_djinn (1883738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735004)

Call me a troll, but I can hardly wait for a $700 iPod touch competitor.

Re:Galaxy, huh? (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735336)

Hey troll,

This is actually a bit closer to the mark with many of the new iKiller devices. Sadly, I find X device I would like to purchase only to find it is actually more expensive then the apple equivalent. I'm not an apple fanboy, but I do own an ipad. (Somewhat of a long short story that stripped me of many options).

None the less, I have been impatiently waiting for the big splash of Android tablets to hit the market. My goal is to eventually dump the iPad for something that is either slightly better or at least equivalent exchange. With the recent surge of up and coming devices I was dismayed at the pricing for some of these new units.

Unless it's a dinky toy they seem to be prices in the $700 to $1000 range. For what equates to a morning news reader and heavy ebook that price is a bit steep. Sure, if I can get more utility out of a device I might warrant the extra dollars, but holy hand grenades batman I might as well get a ultra portable laptop.

Hopefully, we see some similar devices in a similar price range soon.

Re:Galaxy, huh? (1)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735378)

I'm confused, what about this product leads you to believe it will be overpriced? The rest of the Galaxy line seems to be priced appropriately.

The tab is cheaper than the iPad. Granted, it's not cheaper than the *cheapest* iPad, because they don't offer wifi-only and 8gb models, but the 16gb 3g iPad is more expensive than the 16gb 3g Tab and the the 32gb 3g tab is also cheaper than than the iPad competitor.

As for the Galaxy S phone line, they seem to be priced competitively as well. Is dismissing the Galaxy product line as "expensive" just one of the standard unjustified rationalizations that Apple Fanboys use to reinforce their own biased point of view? Or am I genuinely missing a valid point here?

Re:Galaxy, huh? (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735538)

I'm confused, what about this product leads you to believe it will be overpriced?...

The tab is cheaper than the iPad.

True, but the lower price comes at the cost of significant screen space. Think they're going to release a PMP with a 2.5" capacitive touch screen?

Replacement (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735066)

So, my handspring visor is about to die: The case is cracked, the screen is scratched, the leather slipcase is ripped, and I recently misplaced the stylus. What should I get as a replacement?

Re:Replacement (0)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735198)

Do you want to get one that'll suit your needs or do you want some e-bling to impress other Slashdotters?

Re:Replacement (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735264)

Something a hell of a lot more durable than the Visor.

Re:Replacement (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735274)

Wait till after CES next week or MWC in feb there will be a lot of cool stuff coming out at the shows. Personally i'm hanging out for the Samsung galaxy s2 or a Motorola tegra 2 phone.

I've been hoping for such a thing (2)

amigabill (146897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735128)

OK, sure, I'd love an android phone, but I'm not willing to pay the hefty data plan fees.

I'd really been considering how to get a good android phone without a phone plan at all, and use it like an iTouch, only with wifi and no voice or cellular data whatsoever. The *pads are too big, I want something phone/iTouch sized that will fit in my normal sized pockets. Too bad the demoted the camera on this compared to it's Galaxy S phone cousin. I've not seen an amoled screen to know if I care that's gone too. I'd really like to see someone do as good of a product as the really good smartphones and just leave out the cellular part of it, without degrading any other features in the process. But at least this sort of thing is being seen now.

Re:I've been hoping for such a thing (2)

bored_engineer (951004) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735284)

I have similar trouble, though I want to add cellular service to the device and leave out the data plan. I want a phone, but don't want the data plan; I'm quite happy with intermittent wifi. I think that I'm going to switch to either a Nexus 2 phone or a Nokia N900, then buy a prepaid contract with AT&T or Tmobile. I'm still thinking about the options, though. My really old LG flip phone, and N810 still work. I just want these two devices combined into one. They're old enough to finally justify replacing both of them, but I don't know what I want. Maybe I'll wait to see what MeeGo brings.

[pause]I just looked, and found that Meego is available for the N900. Any N900 users out there who've tried it? Willing to tell me what you think?

Re:I've been hoping for such a thing (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735296)

Sadly i believe the screen will only be LCD, also don't expect a newer dual core soc.

DLNA could be the killer app? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34735152)

Seeing that my Samsung TV can do lots of stuff through a cat 5. It would make sense if their Android tablet had a tuned dlna server installed so things like internet tv, youtube, jpegs, m4v, vobs, mp3s and radio could stream from the tablet. I have some features working with mediatomb and twonky (non-free) does some other things like youtube. There is no reason why the Android OS could not do streaming internet over wifi, it would even be possible to make it work with other DLNA compliant devices. If this is not a feature then the release will just sit there and do squat in the market place like Archos. Would be nice if I could take a tablet to other peoples houses and use dlna to show pictures or whatever.
However I just cannot see the manufactures taking advantage of the saleability of cross platform dlna. As it is they are doing the old trick of changing standards so that the consumer gets screwed into using compatible devices of their choosing. When will they learn.

A WiFi Skype Phone (3, Interesting)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735210)

Nice, I would buy a handful of these to use as WiFi Skype phones.

Oblig. (2)

l00sr (266426) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735250)

I, for one, welcome our new Android PMP overlords.

What's the point (1, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#34735368)

if it's not cheaper than an iPad. I mean, I know there are lots of /.ers that'll say they want an open platform and all, but most ppl don't care. These things are set to run $599. Then again, is apple actually running tight margins or is Samsung just trying to muscle in on their 'soak the rich' territory?
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