Virgin unveils ‘iPod mini killer’ and openly chides Apple for not allowing iTunes support

Virgin Digital has announced their own “iPod mini killer,” the weirdly-named “Virgin Electronics Player 5GB” which features 5GB of storage (which Virgin bills as capable of holding over 1200 songs), a built in FM tuner, weight of 3.1 ounces, and dual headphone jacks for $249.99. Virgin’s site states, “We’re making these as fast as we can! Should be in stock within 2 weeks.”

In a veiled dig at Apple’s 4GB iPod mini, Virgin’s site reads, “5GB means you’ve got room for over 1200 songs or 80 CDs – give or take a few. No matter how you slice or dice it, we’re talking 25% more space than 4GB.”

In a totally unveiled stab at Apple, Virgin’s site reads, “Buy your music from any download service… well, almost any – The Virgin Player 5GB rusn [sic] music purchased from: Virgin Digital, Real, MusicMatch and coming soon, any Plays For Sure compatible service. Songs downloaded from iTunes are not supported. Its their choice, not ours.”

Virgin’s specs pages states, “Compatible with Windows XP/2000 (Mac support coming)” and “Plays MP3, WMA formats 64 to 320 sampling rates.”

“‘No one else has the same sort of brand energy that Apple or Virgin has. Plus, our heritage is music,’ said Greg Woock, chief executive of Virgin Electronics. ‘Apple is dominating, yes, but the market share that it has today is not going to last,'” AP reports.

More info, photos, and specs here.

MacDailyNews Take: Attention to detail? Perhaps they should get basic English words spelled correctly and fix the typos on their introductory page first. Is this really an “iPod mini killer” or will it be just another slow-selling player that can’t match Apple’s iPod mini?

Related MacDailyNews article:
Apple iPod grabs massive market share, leaves also-rans in the dust – October 12, 2004
Apple iPod dominates with 82 percent market share in U.S. retail stores in August – October 11, 2004

62 Comments

  1. wtf. it looks like my keyspan remote.

    “Think of the horror show on Christmas morning… thousands wake up to find this piece of junk under the tree instead of a genuine iPOD….

    Ah, gee, thanks Dad, I think, um……”

    Well said.

  2. Yeah, I guess the specifications do say specifically FM Tuner, which is pretty pointless. I was assuming they would know better than to put a useless feature in the device and put in the Transmitter instead.

  3. The more competitors tip the iPod’s market share to decline, the more it grows. Until someone comes up with something compellingly better, I don’t think Apple has anything to worry about.

    And when Apple adds photo viewing and iPhoto for Windows, well …

    Plus the iPod already has an ecosystem of accessories, something the others don’t.

  4. This Virgin product is BUTT UGLY. The interface also stinks.

    Why would any kid want this? You’ll look like a GEEK or DWEEB, if seen using one.

    Thus, only the poor kids will get one – i.e. those who don’t have a choice.

  5. you’ve got to be kidding me. that thing looks nothing like a state of the art, hip, modern player. like the other sentiments expressed, have to say that the looks of that thing damn it regardless of price, features, etc.

    unfortunately or note, often times people will, in fact, NOT buy the most featureladen or even smallest, but the sleekest, simplest, most intuitive. just think of cell phones that people CHOOSE to buy. it’s in the same class of devices. how can anyone present such a device in this day and age? I mean, really, what do you think their margin is on such a sorry looking device.

    finally, we are at the stage where it’s either an iPod or not. that’s the criteria of success these days. try as you might, it’s like buying Lexus or Infinity for BMW or Mercedes. The latter will always be German, and will always carry the cachet that Toyota and Nissan will never attain. It’s not always logical, but the German makers are still in business. Now, apply this logic to music players where the difference in price is much less, and the differences in appearances are so tremendous + the ease of use of iTunes, and you can extrapolate to yet another failure.

    sad, isn’t it? why don’t they just license the iPod like HP? they did the smartest thing. I mean, no company is building these themselves, right? Certainly not Virgin! So why don’t they just license the iPod?

  6. To paraphrase an earlier apple commercial,
    ‘There’s no SCROLL WHEEL!!! There’s NO SCROLL WHEEL!!!’

    How can it compete with no scroll wheel?

    And it is ‘insanely ugly’ (new Virgin term)

    Maybe if it weren’t so insanely ugly it wouldn’t still be a virgin?

  7. For years Mac Users have been locked out with no support from PC devices and Windows software. Now they are crying that they can’t be compatible with the iPod. The friggin hypocrites !

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