“Multiple competitors, having failed to dent sales of the main iPod, are taking aim at the Mini. In fact, some manufacturers believe the majority of the market for portable hard-disk based music players will shift during the next few years to lower-capacity, mini-size players,” Walt Mossberg reports for The Wall Street Journal.
“The theory is that most people don’t need to carry more than 1,000 songs or so, and will flock to lower-price, smaller devices. Some speculate that the higher-capacity iPods, and similar full-size players, will be left to hard-core music lovers. So the new battle over the Mini is a big deal,” Mossberg reports. “My assistant Katie Boehret and I have been testing three of the challengers: Dell’s $199 Pocket DJ and the Rio Carbon and Creative Zen Micro, which are both $249. The Rio Carbon hit shelves about a month ago, and the Dell and Creative players will be available in November.”
Mossberg reports, “But these companies all have offered supposed iPod killers in the past with similar advantages, only to see them fail to achieve big sales. Especially in the Mini category, where simplicity and fashion seem paramount, the question we posed was: Are the new challengers as simple to use and as stylish as the Mini? In our judgment, the three players are closer in style to competing with Apple’s Mini than competitors have been in the past. But all three still lag behind badly in simplicity and ease of use — so badly, in fact, that we can’t recommend them over the Apple.”
Full article, in which Mossberg details his reasons why the iPod mini also-rans don’t measure up, here.