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The Latest iPod Assassination Attempt 310

Posted by Zonk
from the watch-out-mr.-ipod dept.
Insani-CTO writes "David Pogue at the New York Times reviews Samsung's new Z5, the latest attempt at an 'iPod killer' He gives it a pretty favorable review, though doesn't quite count the Nano as dead quite yet. From the piece: 'The Z5, then, will not cause any discernible dip in iPod market share. It does, however, deserve to be a hit for Samsung. For someone who wants a Nano that's not a Nano, it's a close enough match in looks, sleekness, capacity and crystal-clear software design. In fact, if iPod didn't loom over every conversation as the screamingly obvious point of comparison, the Z5 could be the next little thing.'"
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The Latest iPod Assassination Attempt

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  • I love Samsung? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Friday March 10, 2006 @11:53AM (#14890910) Homepage Journal
    I guess I'm a Samsung fanboi, but it was without realizing it. I used to be a big Sony guy, but over the past decade I've lost all faith in the company. Now I slowly replace all my products with what I consider the best (through a lot of research and actual testing of customer service and warranty support).

    Last year my Sony television finally died. I replaced it with a Samsung unit, and couldn't be happier. My cell phone needed replacement, and my Samsung t809 has to be the best cell phone I've ever used (I believe it earns me at least $300 a month more just through added efficiency in my life). The Samsung Origami unit is very promising. My next fridge will be a Samsung (based on my recent experience in India with the units I used there). Same thing with the microwave.

    How is it that a quiet company from Korea can produce great products that actually work, and back it up with great customer service? When my cell phone gave me a few minor problems, Samsung replied within 6 hours. They offered to compensate me for my problems (I declined as most were just features I needed that weren't available).

    The lady of the house has 2 iPods and she loves them. I know they're saving me time and money because we don't have to store CDs anymore, and the square footage savings alone reduces the clutter in my life. I personally don't like the iPod -- the interface is nice, but it isn't easy enough or fast enough.

    I don't see the need to change things, yet, but as consumer goods go, for me it is more about time saved and my life made easier. I doubt there is anything they can offer to make me sell the iPods and buy the Z5. I wonder if there are enough happy iPod users out there to make the market ever-declining for the competition. Considering Samsung picked up the iPod brainstormer, it's possible they'll actually find ways to trump the iPod, but the momentum of sales so far will make it a very difficult path to take. It amazes me how much money is being spent by the competition for obviously sub-par products. What can Samsung do differently to attract the attention of the mass public who already is familiar with Apple's product?

    Nonetheless, Samsung does have my attention -- here and in everything else they make. For those not familiar with their products, I highly recommend taking a look the next time you need a consumer appliance or product. I'm amazed at the pricing, features and overall service.
    • by diamondsw (685967) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:02PM (#14890962)
      Now Samsung will love you back...

      Samsung Means To Come [yhchang.com]

      (Warning: Flash-based and requires sound for full effect; content is all text but not necessarily safe for work)
    • Re:I love Samsung? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by op12 (830015)
      I agree completely. They've just been making good (and recently very sleek-looking) products. When I first realized I couldn't get the Motorola Razr since I am on Sprint, I was disappointed and figured I would have to settle for the Samsung version: the A900 "Blade". Turns out I couldn't be happier. When comparing with the features of the Razr, the Samsung phone excels all over the place. They let you customize everything, have sweet graphics, a cool rotating camera, and a much better resolution ( 176x220 f
    • Re:I love Samsung? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hattig (47930)
      I have a Samsung laser printer. When it broke, it was repaired on-site (i.e., home) for free (as you'd expect). None of this 'package it up and send it to us' crap.

      I'll be buying Samsung stuff in the future when I need new stuff. I just hope that they don't all break once requiring on-site repairs!
    • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:16PM (#14891060)
      The lady of the house has 2 iPods and she loves them.

      You should ask to borrow one of your mom's iPods. :)

    • im not so happy, though i have limited experience. i bought a amsung mp3 player, the model number escapes me, and one day after i pulled it out of my pocket the lcd had smashified....

      i liked my rio more, but i lost it. however, it DID have a hard plastic over the lcd, something i didnt realize was so nice to have :/

    • I personally don't like the iPod -- the interface is nice, but it isn't easy enough

      No offense - I'm honestly curious - how is the iPod interface "hard?"

      • For me it suffers from trying to be too simple but requiring too many steps to get to where I want to go.

        I don't have an answer or a solution, but I think there is more "AI" style interface designs out there to be discovered. I love T9 on my cell phone, I'd love to find something not really similar but in the same vein for getting to a song, album or whatever quicker.

        If I had the solution, I'd make the product. I don't, but I know there is still the killer app interface waiting to be found.
    • Re:I love Samsung? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by gfxguy (98788)
      I agree... the Samsung HDDs I've been buying have been inexpensive and yet feel rock solid and have given me no problems (one is going on two years in my Tivo). Also have a Samsung DVD+-RW drive - cheap and solid.
    • Another Samsung fan (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SuperKendall (25149) * on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:37PM (#14891231)
      You mentioned the fridge - about two years ago I was looking for a refridgerator, and after careful examination of all the fridges the Samsung really looked the best in a number of aspects. It was the only one that had an ice maker I could tolerate, I didn't want one really but she who must be obeyed did (as a sidenote it really is better to have one as then you can drink more water and less of other beverages, much healthier).

      After many years of use, the report is that it is fantastic. I have never had an issue with it, the inside is well organized, and I actually like the ice maker/water dispenser. In fact this turns out to be one of the great things about the fridge. One thing you can't usually try in a store is the water/ice dispenser, and I have been to many people's houses over the interviening years and found all other kinds really inferior. Either they combine ice and water in one spout making you have to switch all the time between them (which mode is it in now?) or the spouts simply suck and deliver ice/water all over your feet and the floor.

      So even a feature I didn't want just works without fuss. The Samsung fridge is truly the iPod of refidgerators.

      We also bought a Samsung LCD TV for someone recently and that has been well received! It was a TV/monitor combo for someone with limited space and the Samsung unit was just might nicer than other comparible units.

      With all that said, I agree with you on the iPods, we have two as well and the Z5 doesn't even sound close (the finicky scrolling control and lack of variabilty make it a no-show for me, not to mention lack of Mac support).
    • Re:I love Samsung? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by defile (1059) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:41PM (#14891265) Homepage Journal

      I have to echo your sentiments, Samsung rules.

      When does Samsung roll out a gaming console? They've been thinking about it. We've been waiting for it. What's the holdup?

      However, I really don't dig the idea of being wrapped in music while I'm out in public. I like to be aware of my surroundings since I usually have a good time when I am. Here's some Vonnegut:

      (talking about when he tells his wife he's going out to buy an envelope) Oh, she says well, you're not a poor man. You know, why don't you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I'm going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And, see some great looking babes. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And, and ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don't know. The moral of the story is, is we're here on Earth to fart around. And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And, what the computer people don't realize, or they don't care, is we're dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And, we're not supposed to dance at all anymore.
    • Re:I love Samsung? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by snopes (27370) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:44PM (#14891298) Journal
      > How is it that a quiet company from Korea can produce great products that actually work

      Gross mischaracterization. Samsung is huge, has huge resources. They've set their sights on taking a lead in consumer products manufacturing and they're exectuting well. Not suprising. How long has Sony been dominant now? Eventually inertia takes over, stagnation sets in. Oh, and lets not forget the pleasure a Korean business will take in popping off a Japanese business. Extra motivation right there.

      Samsung is nicely positioned to provide high quality at lower costs due to the tremendous manufacturing capital they own. If they're smart enough to win on customer service (as you suggest) and design (or at least design replication), they will be at the top of the heap for many, many years.

      BTW, I ended up with a Toshiba, but I agree with you on the quality of their TVs. I was very torn and my folks have a Samsung that's very nice for the price.
    • Re:I love Samsung? (Score:2, Informative)

      by filterban (916724)
      Samsung does make good stuff. Keep in mind, though:

      1) Samsung was recently fined [engadget.com] $300 million for price fixing. This is evil on Microsoft and Ma Bell levels.

      2) They supply flash memory to Apple for use in the iPod.

      • The price fixing issue isn't a concern to me as I don't really believe in the idea of price fixing. Memory is a very high cost-to-entry market, and the idea that cartel form to fix prices is just a fact of the market. In fact, I prefer that these cartels not get penalized or fined as it leaves the market open to others finding ways to get into the market to eventually bring the price down again.

        Over time, anyone who tries to fix prices moves in one of two directions:

        1. Someone else eventually competes wit
  • Dinosaur Killer? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gUUU ... inus threevowels> on Friday March 10, 2006 @11:53AM (#14890912) Homepage Journal
    In fact, if iPod didn't loom over every conversation as the screamingly obvious point of comparison, the Z5 could be the next little thing.

    Of course, that would have required that Samsung independently invent the Z5 rather than hiring away the people that produced the iPod. Thus, without the iPod, there would be no Z5.

    If Samsung wants to beat Apple at their own game, they're going to have to do better than hang on their coattails. Unfortunately, every new revision of the iPod and iTunes from Apple raises the barrier to entry [wikipedia.org] that much higher.
    • If Samsung wants to beat Apple at their own game, they're going to have to do better than hang on their coattails. Unfortunately, every new revision of the iPod and iTunes from Apple raises the barrier to entry that much higher.

      That's not the name of the game. You can't simply hope to defeat a competitor's lead in a technology by working full bore on something to surpass it, because by the time you are done, your competitor will simply have incorporated your enhancements in their own device as well as upg

  • by rehtonAesoohC (954490) on Friday March 10, 2006 @11:56AM (#14890933) Journal
    ...the ZWeb for everyone's busy ZLife, they can download ZTunes from the ZStore.
  • MMS-MMS (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hieronymus Howard (215725) on Friday March 10, 2006 @11:59AM (#14890947)
    From the article:

    And while the Z5 can't play songs from Apple's iTunes Music Store, it can play songs from Rhapsody, Napster, Musicmatch, MSN Music, Wal-Mart, AOL Music Now, Yahoo Music and other members of the "MMS-MMS" consortium (Microsoft-based Music Stores with Minuscule Market Share).
    • Interesting as to what you consider miniscule.

      Real alone has 1.4 million subscribers paying between $10 and $15 / month for a service only available in the US. Apple has iTuens stores covering much of the globe so clearly has a bigger potential audience.

      It took Apple 7 months to go from 500 million to 1 billion songs sold, so that's $71.4M revenue per month or $856M turnover per year.

      Real has a turnover on 1.4 million subscribers of between $168M and $252M per year not icluding any song sales over and

  • by jawtheshark (198669) * <slashdot&jawtheshark,com> on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:00PM (#14890953) Homepage Journal
    Disclaimer: I do not own an full blown iPod
    Recently on German news they covered CeBit and plainly stated that the next generation phones would be iPod killers. I was thinking by myself: WTF? Then they started to enumerate the advantages of having MP3 player in your phone. The main thing seemed to be that you could download songs on a whim. Essentially iTMS but over wireless. I fell over laughing. (I know that the device in the article is not a phone, but I just wanted to mention it)

    So, I first am going to shell out money to get the song, then pay UMTS packets? Are you *insane*? How expensive will be a 3Meg song that way? Waaaaay beyond the current prices in iTMS.

    The iPod is successful because it is simple and later on the seamless integration with iTMS was the big winner. Any competing product must at least match this and make it less expensive.

    None of these so-called iPod-killers will fly. At least that is MHO.

    • iPod killer (Score:5, Funny)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:17PM (#14891071) Journal
      None of these so-called iPod-killers will fly. At least that is MHO.
      Chuck Norris can fly, he just hasn't gotten around to killing the iPod yet.
    • If your cell phone is your mp3 player, that's one less gadget you have to bring along. And keep in mind that 3G charges won't always be as high as they are now; and of course they already are cheaper in other countries. Not that I disagree, I don't see multimedia cell phones killing the iPod any time soon either.
  • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:00PM (#14890954)
    These competitors sniping ineffectually at Apple's heels in the digital music player space need to realize that they will always be playing second fiddle (ha ha) as long as their players look remotely like iPods.

    People know instinctively that this is an iPod-wannabe. That (nicely anthropomorphic) form factor is burned into the public consciousness (such as it is).

    The thing that will erode Apple's domination is the inclusion of iPod-like abilities in other devices. The only thing in the world that is more popular than an iPod is a mobile phone. Its interesting, because of the wrinkle that is the ROKR. Remember the hype around that phone? Everybody knew this could be a killer combination but something happened and it rolled out the door totally crippled; so people wrote off the phone-as-iPod idea in a sense.

    Go look at the latest batch of Sony Ericsson phones, extrapolate the direction of the hardware +1.5 years and each one of those phones will be at least as capable as a Nano. And while you don't strictly have to have an iPod, there are many who would agree that a mobile phone these days is strictly necessary... like the PS2 with DVD -playing, people will rationalize the fancy phone as a "junior iPod" over an iPod + Phone separately most of the time. And the fanciest Bluetooth gadget in the world will never integrate the phone with the iPod in the way that they are when shipped in one device (receiving calls and handing off, etc).

    All this applies to point-and-shoot digital cameras, as well.

    • by DrXym (126579) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:12PM (#14891031)
      These competitors sniping ineffectually at Apple's heels in the digital music player space need to realize that they will always be playing second fiddle (ha ha) as long as their players look remotely like iPods.

      And I'm sure that if I were to dig into Google Groups that Mac zealots were saying the same thing about Windows 3.1 when it first appeared.

      Seriously though, I want a music player that plays MP3, AAC, WMA and (for completeness) OGG out of the box, looks pretty, where DRM is supported for each favorite music format and where the software that doesn't suck and lets you choose which format is right for the user. Can it be that hard to do?

      • And I'm sure that if I were to dig into Google Groups that Mac zealots were saying the same thing about Windows 3.1 when it first appeared.

        You point is...?

        Seriously though, I want a music player that plays MP3, AAC, WMA and (for completeness) OGG out of the box, looks pretty, where DRM is supported for each favorite music format and where the software that doesn't suck and lets you choose which format is right for the user. Can it be that hard to do?

        For engineering, completely do-able. Licensing and

        • You point is...?

          Since you need it spelt out... my point is that Windows 3.1 was arguably a look-a-like of MacOS in many respects and Microsoft still kicked Apple's ass all over the shop.

          Just because the iPod looks pretty and its DRM is the least evil, doesn't mean it will always be that way. Just like with the Mac vs Windows, a lot of people will stop paying the Apple tax if something cheaper comes along that as good a job.

          • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:48PM (#14891330) Homepage
            Yeah, the big difference is that the iPod has no "Apple Tax". this Samsung Z5 costs exactly the same amount as an iPod, but it isn't the real thing. Very few customers are going to select something other than the defacto standard if the alternatives all cost just as much and don't offer some amazingly compelling feature.
            • I'm not defending the Samsung, but the fact is that Apple's players cost considerably more than some MP3 players with the same memory capacity that I could mention. And Apple have the advantage of economies of scale, iTMS and a dominant market position to help keep their costs down.
          • Never spent much time with 3.1, did you? Non-overlapping windows, that stupid Program Manager -- there was no comparison to the Mac. Windows 95, OTOH, was where the smack-down really started...
            • Windows 3.1 had overlapping windows-a-plenty but the program manager was sucky alright.

              The point I was making was you can't scoff at a look-a-like. Windows was an enormous success because it took the same WIMP concepts as MacOS used and made them work on "inferior" and considerably cheaper PCs.

          • Since you need it spelt out... my point is that Windows 3.1 was arguably a look-a-like of MacOS in many respects and Microsoft still kicked Apple's ass all over the shop.

            Much obliged. Your argument sucks. Win3.1's success was only peripherally (at best) related to its actual quality. It had everything to do with market economies and Apple's bad decisions.

            Just because the iPod looks pretty and its DRM is the least evil, doesn't mean it will always be that way. Just like with the Mac vs Windows, a lot of

          • Since you need it spelt out... my point is that Windows 3.1 was arguably a look-a-like of MacOS in many respects and Microsoft still kicked Apple's ass all over the shop.

            That's because of their leverage of monopoly position to illegally coerce the market. Did you miss the antitrust trial? Windows 3.1 didn't win on merits. Go use it for 10 minutes and then go to a Mac from the same time period and you'll realize that immediately.
      • Can it be that hard to do? Technically? No. But most things in business don't fail for technical reasons.
      • And I'm sure that if I were to dig into Google Groups that Mac zealots were saying the same thing about Windows 3.1 when it first appeared.

        The difference is that Microsoft was able to use illegal coercive OEM deals to solidify thier monopoly position, so the third-rate Windows 3.1 became the standard.
    • You can beat the Ipod head to head.

      Simply allow people to transfer files from mp3 player to mp3 player

      That just requires a little engineering and a little software. Especially with usb 2.0.

      The RIAA and music industry would flip, but you'd outsell the ipod. Make a decent price point don't make it look like crap, a relatively easy to use interface, and you have a goldmine.

      Make a commercial

      Kid 1 : "Hey what are you listening too?"
      Kid 2 : "The ________"
      Kid 1 : Cool....Hook Me Up [the tag line for the commercial
      • If you made the player "eat" the transferred file the next time it shut down and hold the file in some hidden memory location that made it impossible to transfer off of the unit to yet another kid, you'd have a viable model there.

        That's an excellent idea otherwise. Music is both social and solitary. If you could share the music in a secure way that allowed IP holders to limit it or feel assured that a shared music file would "die" rather than haning around on the target player, I feel that you might eve
      • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Friday March 10, 2006 @01:19PM (#14891633)
        Simply allow people to transfer files from mp3 player to mp3 player...That just requires a little engineering and a little software. Especially with usb 2.0.... The RIAA and music industry would flip, but you'd outsell the ipod. Make a decent price point don't make it look like crap, a relatively easy to use interface, and you have a goldmine.

        Why stop there? Throw in a pony, make it even better.

        There is absolutely no technical issue whatsoever involved in getting, say, two iPods to talk directly each other (especially older firewire models). But politically, that is currently verboeten. No label in the world will allow it. No music industry lobbyist in the world will currently let something like that go unanswered. Its not a technical problem at all, it has everything to do with the old guard holding the keys.

    • I'll grant that you may be able to beat the iPod head-to-head, but you can't beat the iPod AND iTunes AND the ITMS head-to-head all at once. Even Apple couldn't pull that off- the three products were introduced separately over the course of several years (iTunes in 2000, the iPod in 2001, and the store in . But in doing so, Apple claimed and locked down that entire sector of the market, so the opportunity for another company to duplicate that process is gone.
  • Navigation Component (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RunFatBoy.net (960072) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:02PM (#14890960)
    The thumb naturally makes a ciruclar motion, lending itself best to the click wheel design. When I am forced to use a directional navigation system, its as if my fingers are forced to hold positions that don't feel natural. Anyone else get this feeling? If the device were $100 cheaper, and all things else comparable, I could probably be uncomfortable. Anything less though, why bother? -- Jim http://www.runfatboy.net/ [runfatboy.net]
  • by dfn5 (524972) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:04PM (#14890971) Journal
    Looks cool, but does it support Ogg Vorbis...?

    Some quick googling [google.com] says it does [cnet.com]!!! Woo Hoo!!!! I know what I'm getting for my birthday.

    • by cab15625 (710956) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:20PM (#14891096)
      Careful ... the spec sheet [samsung.com] says it only supports MTP under windowsXP with mediaplayer 10. So you may have a very exciting time getting it to hook up to your linux box. Then again, you may be one of the XP users out there who use ogg. Why do they do this? At least Apple had the sense to support their iPod stuff under non-apple OS's.
      • At least Apple had the sense to support their iPod stuff under non-apple OS's

        ...and exactly which flavor of Linux do you run iTunes one?
        'thought so.

        And the bonus round:
        How much does iTunes charge for their unlimited download subscription service?

        ::crickets::

        Thanks for playing.

        • I rip my purchased CDs to DRM-less m4a format (using the open-source faac codec) and then manage and upload my music to the ipod using amarok 1.4.

          I have all my music, properly sorted, and with their respective album covers. I prefer amarok to itunes, so I don't feel like I'm missing out.

          amarok will soon have the ability to transcode when uploading to the ipod, that way, I can store my music in ogg vorbis format, then, when I upload my music to my ipod, it will be transcoded to m4a (which sounds fine to my e
    • Does it support functioning as a generic USB mass storage device with a FAT filesystem? If I can't drag N dop (or cp /u01/music/* /mnt/z5), then I'm still not buying.

      Nice format support though.
    • Well,But it doesn't work with Mac. So still my only option, if I want an MP3 player that wors with the mac and can play oggs is the iRiver.
  • by mr_gerbik (122036) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:06PM (#14890989)
    Companies are always trying to get some extra press by talking up their next line of music players and how they are going to be "iPod Killers" (what ever happened to Microsofts iPod killer?) Then they release a music player like the Z5 that tries to mimic all the great features of the iPod but inevitably they fall short because all they are doing is mimicing to the edge of blatently copying.

    The Z5 adds nothing to the table (no, extended battery life does not an iPod killer make). It is twice as thick as the Nano yet has the same capacity and most importantly, the same price point.
    • The ipod killer will have to be less expensive by a pretty good margin.
      • It certainly has to do something way better (keeping on track on the other 2, and being similar with ease of use, battery life, etc). I'd say one of these three:

        1. Significantly smaller (nope)
        2. Much less expensive (nope)
        3. Much higher capacity (nope)

        This one just tried to match the nano, but, doesn't quite have the same sleekness. So, it's dead in the water for me. O

    • It's going to take a lot more than this to make a true "iPod killer". To do it, not only would you need to create an media player that is cheaper, more powerful, and still easy to use... you would also need to create a new online music and video download service that can rival iTunes. THAT will be the hard part, because none the services that are based on Windows Media Player technology now come close to offering the media selection or player integration that iTunes has now.

      Honestly, there are only a few co
  • Fashion (Score:4, Insightful)

    by muffen (321442) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:08PM (#14890996)
    I think that a lot of Apple's success comes from the marketing of the iPod. Pre-iPod it was considered "geeky" to have an mp3 player (in all fairness, mp3 players where horrible when they first came, buttons everywhere). Today, people think its "cool" to have their white headphones on and an iPod hanging at their side.

    Although it may not be considered geeky to have another mp3 player today, the iPod is almost seen as a fashion accessory, whereas any other mp3 player is just that, an mp3 player.

    To beat the iPod, I believe that the mainstream has to consider it "cool", and you have to have tons of accessories so your mp3 player can be cooler than the other 10million people who also have one.

    Just my thoughts on a point I think was missed in the article...
    • Re:Fashion (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)
      Exactly. The culture of cool rules here and its tough to get in. Look at the Sidekick, it a mediocre PDA-Phone but with rap stars and Paris Hilton paid to promote it, its suddenly the must have pda-phone for so many kids. Most of whom would have been happy with a plain-jane cell phone.

      Your right, before the ipod, the other players like Archos were making big ugly boxes. But those players were very functional. Unfortunately, that meant 'geeky' and 'nerdy' to everyone else. Apple sexed up the product and now
  • I don't get it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrSbaitso (93553) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:08PM (#14891001)
    This thing is basically a Nano, except that it's uglier, doesn't work with iTunes, and doesn't support Apple accessories (the fancy ones, not stuff like headphones that work on anything). Why would anyone choose it over the Nano itself? It's not cheaper and has no significant features to offer that the iPod doesn't (i guess battery life sort of counts, but once you're way up to 20+ hours it's not a huge difference. also, ask Sony how their ipod killer with great battery life did).
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Informative)

      by darkmeridian (119044) <william.chuang @ g m a il.com> on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:15PM (#14891054) Homepage
      The Samsung device supports Ogg Vorbis. It also has an aluminum case that avoids scratching. Battery life is 24 hours, which does matter because not everyone recharges their electronics once a day.
    • I'm fairly in agreement with you, but I suppose a small bonus is that it does work with the non-iTunes music stores like Napster, Rhapsody, etc. This is a point of contention though, because no non-Apple player can use iTunes, and no iPod works with Napster so it's not exactly a direct comparison, but it does offer other options for digital music purchases.

      (Personally any player/platform/store DRM lock in crap turns me right off, but YMMV).
    • Sound quality? That's an area where Apple have traditionally been among the worst performers, but then who needs sound quality when you have spiffy marketing?
    • I addition to the other good points mentioned in reply to you, I'll add that Samsung is the biggest manufacturer of flash memory and depending on the month is the biggest or second biggest manufacturer of ICs.

      While Apple contracts with fabs and buys storage from Samsung, Samsung should eventually be able to tool a line for their own products with higher efficiencies and offer like hardware for lower cost if this thing gets popular and production is fully ramped. At the same time they can keep pulling a Mic
      • At the same time they can keep pulling a Microsfot and rip Apples designs all day long. Real easy when you can higher the same designer even.

        How is that ripping Apple's design? *He* is the designer, he just did some work for Apple for a while. If you hire somebody to work for you, you own the work he did for you, you do not own his brain, he does not become your property. I know a lot of companies would prefer this to be the case, but it's sad to see people actually accepting this disgusting mindset.

  • Head bang (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wombatmobile (623057) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:09PM (#14891008)

    At Samsung's suggestion, I tested the Z5 with Rhapsody's store, which is available directly from the copy of Windows Media Player provided by the Z5's installer. After banging my head on the keyboard for an hour, unable to get it to work, a Rhapsody rep finally let me know that, in fact, Rhapsody's subscription store doesn't work in Media Player -- only with Rhapsody's own software jukebox. (So much for the Microsoft "Plays for Sure" logo. Try "Plays for Some People.")

    I don't want that experience.

  • by WombatControl (74685) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:15PM (#14891051)

    It's always much harder to overturn an entrenched leader in a field than to jump ahead of the pack - and the iPod has massive marketshare. The article has this really important observation:

    In fact, at least six factors make the iPod such a hit: cool-looking hardware; a fun-to-use, variable-speed scroll wheel; an ultrasimple software menu; effortless song synchronization with Mac or Windows; seamless, rock-solid integration with an online music store (iTunes); and a universe of accessories. Mess up any aspect of the formula, and your iPod killer is doomed to market-share crumbs.

    That's the problem for other manufacturers. That's a damn near insurmountable hill to climb. Sony had some solid electronics but terrible software. The players that use PlaysForSure are doomed with the horrendous WMP system, terrible DRM, and electronics that are crappily designed. Even if you get nicely designed hardware and nicely designed software, you're stuck in a world where you can get iPod accessories everywhere, but nobody's going to carry accessories for your particular product unless you can get a credible amount of marketshare - which is hard when you don't have the accessories to spur sales.

    The only way the iPod can be beaten is if Apple screws it up (which is unlikely, but possible) or someone manages to buy their way into market. The only company that could compete with Apple is Microsoft, doing what they did to the gaming market with the XBox. If Microsoft wanted to create a product that would be a severe loss-leader (priced well under the iPod) and could totally redesign WMP to be halfway usable, they might have a shot at unseating the iPod - but not a good one. Microsoft won't do that because the XBox division is currently hemmorhaging money as it is and Microsoft's bottom line would be adversely affected by trying to go toe-to-toe with the most popular piece of consumer electronics on the planet.

    The iPod didn't get it first, but it got it right, and unless the cachet wears off (which may happen, but not for a while), trying to beat the iPod is not a particularly sound business strategy.

    • This analysis makes more sense when dealing with software, but not hardware. There's no network externality to owning an iPod: Everyone owning an iPod doesn't make it useful/necessary for me to own one as well, and doesn't penalize me for owning an iPodKiller (unlike, say Microsoft Office). And please don't mention 'accessories'; I suppose having 100 different styles of cases is nice, but I only need one.

      There's a legion of buyers out there who want a portable mp3 player but don't use iTunes. They're buy
    • I agree with your post in that I see no way for the iPod to be unseated from it's roost. It's got that market by the short and curlies.

      Of course, that doesn't mean you can't kill the iPod. You just have to supplant the whole market. So you need to kill off the portable music player market by increasing the cell-phones that hold all your music market, or some other convergence device.

  • The thing that kills all the "iPod killers" for me is the lack of integration with your music library, as compared with the iTunes/iPod combo. Nothing else comes close. Smart playlists, automatic sync when you plug in, two-way sync of metadata like play count and last played time (the iPod updates that data in iTunes after you've played songs on the go), etc. I use smart playlists in particular to give myself a level of control over my music listening experience that isn't remotely possible with albums a
    • I've tried most of the Plays For Sure stores (Yahoo, Napster & Rhapsody) in an attempt to get some legal music onto my Treo for PocketTunes so when I'm training on the bike I can just carry one device and if I get a call then the hybrid headset/earphones makes life easy. However I was dissappointed in all of the stores.

      First I tried Napster, it was okay but their client sucked especially when syncing to my Treo as it would always hang up, then I tried Yahoo Music, the interface for their store was pathe
  • Did anyone else watching the video notice that he referred to Rhapsody and Napster as song rental services and not subscription services?
    • I think rental services is a more accurate term as it makes clear exactly what is happening. When you rent, you don't get to keep the product unless you keep forking over the dough.
      • I absolutely agree. This was just the first time I encountered these services being semi-accurately described in the media. In the public's mind it seems that the meaning of "subscription" with regard to digital media is shifting toward the traditional definition of "renting". I was just glad to see someone NOT call the other services subscriptions.
  • Kudo's to Samsung! This looks like a very nice product and a possible replacement for my iPod Shuffle. :-)

    • Personally, I think it looks like ass. But once you advance from the menu-less shuffle, almost anything with a menu would be an improvement.
  • Any player that doesn't support Fairplay and AAC is out for me. I've owned 2 generations of iPod and have way too much purchased music to change. No I don't want to convert all those songs to Ogg or mp3 unless someone knows a way to do it in a batch job with no loss of quality.
    • No I don't want to convert all those songs to Ogg or mp3 unless someone knows a way to do it in a batch job with no loss of quality.

      Are you joking me? Just a tiny bit of googling could find a solution to your plight.
      Decompress those files to WAV using Winamp. You change the output to Nullsoft DiskWriter then just put all the files you want in the playlist, voila, WAV files of your AAC files. Next download LAME and RazorLame (front end GUI for LAME), all free, all GNU. Throw all the WAV's into the batch
  • by 8127972 (73495) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:37PM (#14891233)
    ..... We should be adding the iPod to this list on Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unsuccessful_ assassinations [wikipedia.org]
  • I've 5000 songs on my iPod, split into 200 or so albums, and 300 artists. Click, or holding a button to navigate a list that long is unacceptable. Hell, I used to get bored scrolling though the menu on my old Nokia phone, a dial is the perfect interface.

    I'm suprised Sony didn't include a jogwheel into their walkman. Seems like that would have made it more of a competitor (rather than the hideous phone like menu that they used).
  • Hey! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lobo (10944) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:57PM (#14891421) Homepage
    Don't forget about http://www.iaudio.com./ [www.iaudio.com]

    I have a U3 and love it. Smaller than a Nano and even plays movies even though the screen is a little small for long term movie viewing. And yes you OSS guys, it even plays .ogg
  • OK, interfaces are nice, but for the most part, I can forgive most of an interfaces' shortcomings if the sound quality is there.

    From what I've heard of my wife's nano, it's pretty decent. No background hiss - which seems to be the bane of cheaply put together MP3 players.

    So here's what I've got now:

    1. NexIIa - Frontier Labs' compactflash reading MP3 player : This was bought because I figured hey, got a digital camera, have spare CF card... but I hate listening to this player on low ohm headphones becaus
  • Works with WalMart! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Animats (122034)
    Well, unlike the iPod, this thing is WalMart Music [walmart.com] compatible.

    As long as you use Internet Explorer. Try the above link with Firefox.

    The next step with portable music players is to break the link with the home computer. Think something that uses the cell phone network but doesn't make calls.

  • By using a square control nobody will ever notice that this is an iPod nano ripoff. They're pretty cunning those folks at Samsung.
  • Making the same mistakes as the iPod isn't the way to beat it.

    You step through lists by lightly tapping the pad; you hold down to scroll quickly. The best part is that your thumb doesn't have to move between scrolling and clicking; after scrolling by touching, pushing harder to click -- in exactly the same spot -- does the trick.

    In other words, the primary control is a force-sensitive device, which means that it will have to have a "lock" on the control when it's just in your pocket. They might as well give
  • by smcdow (114828) on Friday March 10, 2006 @01:52PM (#14891935) Homepage
    Seamless integration with iTunes?
    If no, then NO SALE.

    Why? Because I'm already using iTunes on Windows, and I'll be making the switch to OSX within 12 months.

    I'm not necessarily in love with iTunes, but I'll be goddamned if I'm going to waste my time futzing around with a new music organization software suite.

  • by Zhe Mappel (607548) on Friday March 10, 2006 @06:05PM (#14894473)
    I like my iPod for all the usual reasons: sleek, functional, blah blah blah. But if Apple sells fewer of them tomorrow and Samsung more of its gizmo, fine by me. In fact, I rather hope everybody sells more than Apple, thus putting pressure on it to compete for market share. I'm funny like that: I'd rather pay less for my stuff than worship at a corporate altar.

    Technology is fascinating but vicarious corporate bean-counting is a queer sport for free men. Titling this story with an assassination metaphor isn't witty or even cute; it's a sign of the banal elevation of corporate identity in a certain flat imagination. Remember: the tech is supposed to set you free, not call you to your prayer rug.

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