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Samsung Steals the Brain Behind the iPod 334

An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times reports that Samsung has hired the same programming genius who helped make the iPod so great to design its own music player. They imply that the new Samsung device is just as innovative." From the article: "Samsung's choice of Mr. Mercer also shows how much consumer electronics now rely on the powerful computing capabilities that defined personal computers two decades ago. Samsung is betting that it can win a share of the music market dominated by Apple by using new software that mimics what is found in powerful PC's. The Z5, shaped like a stick of gum, has a 1.8-inch color screen and a 35-hour battery life, and is priced at $199 to $249 to compete with the iPod Nano, which costs $149 to $249. Early reviews have been positive, and Samsung is hoping that the Z5 will work smoothly with the range of subscription music services that support the Microsoft PlaysForSure digital music standard."
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Samsung Steals the Brain Behind the iPod

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  • ogg vorbis (Score:5, Informative)

    by Florian ( 2471 ) <cantsin@zedat.fu-berlin.de> on Monday February 27, 2006 @08:05AM (#14807361) Homepage
    It should be of more relevance to Slashdot readers that the player supports Ogg Vorbis according to its spec sheet [samsung.com].


  • Re: It looks bland. (Score:3, Informative)

    by DancesWithBlowTorch ( 809750 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @08:20AM (#14807392)
    Actually, their player looks worse than the iPod. Look: here [samsung.com]. While it's an obvious rip-off (the menu looks especially familiar, and, oh look, it's a click-square...), it just looks cluttered and cheap compared to the reference product from Cupertino.
  • Re:ogg vorbis (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 27, 2006 @08:31AM (#14807426)
    But unfortunately it uses MTP [wikipedia.org] as a comunication protocol, so Linux and Mac users are out of luck.

    Is it really so hard for companies to make their players mass storage compatible for use in other operating systems or as a last resort?
  • Re:ogg vorbis (Score:2, Informative)

    by Iron E ( 948355 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @08:40AM (#14807463)
    The iriver, Cowon iaudio and IOPS players all support OGG Vorbis - all three korean brands, so it seems that some people do care about the format. iriver and iaudio also have a big market share in korea (iPod is third, IIRC), so of course Samsung, a korean company will release a product that has at least the same features as their competitors.
  • Re:neatish kinda (Score:4, Informative)

    by ciroknight ( 601098 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @09:40AM (#14807687)
    It's also worthwhile to note how this thing stacks up to its "competitor", the iPod nano.

    Samsung's Z5: 1.66" x .45" x 3.54, 1.8" LCD, 35 Hr Battery Life
    iPod Nano: 1.6" x 0.27" x 3.5, 1.5" LCD, ~14 Hr Battery Life

    Take two Nanos, stack one on top of another and you get a realization of how thick this thing is. But, with that extra thickness you pick up twice as much battery life (that should be a no brainer, seeing as doubling the size would double the available room to stash a battery). The screen is larger, but only marginally, and from the pictures it's at a strange aspect ratio (like that of a Cellphone) compared to the Nano's more naturally shaped screen (4x3?). Also worthy to note that the interface is going to be strikingly different, and that the Nano has Apple's FairPlay DRM vs. Microsoft's WMP10-DRM and some other DRM system called "Janus" (according to its product spec sheet). The Samsung unit will only ship with DRM compatibility for Windows (Media Player 10, sorry Mac users), and the unit comes in Black and Silver.

    My opinion? It looks like a cellphone and an MP3 player got in a fight and the cellphone lost in a serious way. It's not particularly attractive looking with it's goofy offsized display, and the interface is questionable to say the least (the touchpad's square shape alone leaves one to question). It'll be interesting to see what impact, if any, it will have on the market.
  • Re: It looks bland. (Score:2, Informative)

    by aichpvee ( 631243 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @09:49AM (#14807733) Journal
    Here's the real iPod killer [cowonamerica.com] for open source geeks. Well, as long as the video playback features aren't important to you since it only does 15fps in some "JetVideo" format, wtf that is.

    They've also got a newer model geared toward video [cowonamerica.com] that looks pretty sweet, but it also seems to have lost the FLAC support and costs almost twice as much.

  • Direct links (Score:2, Informative)

    by Compile 'em all ( 834137 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @09:50AM (#14807737)
  • Re:standard? (Score:3, Informative)

    by samael ( 12612 ) <Andrew@Ducker.org.uk> on Monday February 27, 2006 @10:36AM (#14807985) Homepage
    It means:
    "An acknowledged measure of comparison for quantitative or qualitative value"

    Which is exactly what PlaysForsure is - a set of criteria that a digital music player has to fulfil in order to get the stamp of approval.

    I do wish people would learn to speak English before they criticised others.

The absent ones are always at fault.