Disney launches ‘Apple iPod shuffle killer’ for kids

Disney Consumer Products has announced the launch of a new digital audio MP3/WMA player specifically designed for kids and teens. The Disney Mix Stick player, unveiled today in New York by Raven-Symoné, star of the hit Disney Channel series, “That’s So Raven” also introduced the “That’s So Raven”-branded Disney Mix Stick – one of four choices of players.

Disney Mix Sticks allow for standard digital downloading or copying from a CD to its built-in digital memory. For entertainment on demand, without a PC, kids can also use a built-in SD/MMC card slot to listen to Disney Mix Clips – tiny plug-and-play add-on memory cards with “near CD-quality” music of popular albums from Walt Disney Records. Available at a suggested retail price of $49.99, the Disney Mix Sticks come in three additional styles: Disney Chrome, Forever Princess, and Tinker Bell.

Disney Mix Sticks hold 128 MB of internal storage, or enough for about 30 songs (at 128 kbps WMA encoding). If more storage is desired, standard add-on memory cards (purchased separately) can be inserted into the SD/MMC card slot for up to 1 GB of storage, or nearly 250 songs.

Disney Mix Sticks include a 10-hour, built-in rechargeable battery, stereo earbuds, USB 2.0 connector, standard headphone jack, Windows Media Player Software and a lanyard with safety release. They are PC and Mac compatible, have a suggested retail price of $49.99 and will be available nationwide at Target, Sears, Limited Too, Wal-Mart.com and at http://www.DisneyShopping.com beginning in mid-October.

If downloading music from a PC or CD is too cumbersome, kids can simply insert a Disney Mix Clip WMA MMC memory card into the player. Mix Clips are digital quality, full length albums, with a suggested retail price equivalent to CDs; they are compatible with other devices such as computers and cell phones. Four Disney Mix Clip titles will be available at launch, with additional releases planned for 2006. Current releases are as follows:

• Radio Disney Ultimate Jams, Greatest Hits Volumes 1-6 (Walt Disney Records). Includes “I Can’t Wait,” by Hillary Duff, “Dig It,” by D. Tent Boys, “Spinnin’ Around,” by Jump5, “Juliet,” by LMNT, “Blue (Da Ba Dee),” by Eiffel 65, “Get Ready For This,” by 2 Unlimited, “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” by A*Teens, “Disney Mambo #5,” by Lou Bega, “YMCA,” by Village People, “I Got You (I Feel Good),” by James Brown, “You Make Me Feel Like A Star,” by the Beu Sisters, “Pump Up The Jam,” by Technotronic, “All For Love,” by Stevie Brock, “The Hampster Dance Song,” by Jampton The Hampster and “Move It Like This,” by Baha Men.

• That’s So Raven: Songs Inspired By The Hit TV Series (Walt Disney Records). Includes “Beautiful Soul,” by Jessie McCartney, “Got To Be Real,” by Cheryl Lynn, “Ultimate,” by Lindsay Lohan, “I’m Every Woman,” by Chaka Khan, “Shine” and “Supernatural,” by Raven, “Jungle Boogie,” by Kool & The Gang, “There’s Gotta Be More To Life,” by Stacie Orrico, “We Are Family,” by Jump 5, ‘Future Is Clear,” by Jeannie Ortega and “Where You Belong,” by Huckapoo.

• Disney Mania 3: Music Stars Sing Disney Their Way! (Walt Disney Records). Includes “Under the Sea,” by Raven Symone, “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride,” by Jump5, “A Whole New World,” by Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, “It’s A Small World,” by Pan_3, “The Bare Necessities,” by Bowling For Soup, “I Won’t Say (I’m In Love),” by The Cheetah Girls, “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” by Aly & A.J., “Kiss The Girl,” by Vitamin C, “Part of Your World,” by Skye Sweetnam, “Colors of the Wind,” by Christy Carlson Romano, “Proud Of Your Boy,” by Clay Aiken, “Strangers Like Me,” by Everlife, “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes,” by Kimberley Locke, “Cruella De Vil,” by Lalaine, and “When You Wish Upon A Star,” by Jesse McCartney.

• Disney Channel Hits, Take 1 (Walt Disney Records). Includes theme songs from Lizzie McGuire, Proud Family, Even Stevens, Phil of the Future, Dave the Barbarian and That’s So Raven TV shows. Additional songs include “I Can’t Wait,” by Hillary Duff, “Shine,” from Raven, “It’s All About Me,” by Penny Proud, and the “Naked Mole Rap,” from Kim Possible.

Disney also offers some accessories:

• The Disney Jam Stand is a stereo and battery re-charger with speakers featuring hi-fi stereo sound. The Jam Stand flashes colored lights as music plays. The re-charger dock includes a USB charger powered by an AC adaptor. The Disney Jam Stand is available for a suggested retail of $39.99

• Additional accessories include a USB wall charger/adaptor, two types of head phones:
“DJ” style and wrap-around ear clips, and pink or grey carrying cases to hold a Mix Stick Player and Mix Clip cards. Available for a suggested retail price range from $9.99 – $14.99.

Disney Mix Sticks Players are designed by Disney and manufactured by Memcorp, Inc.

More info here.
Added 9:40am ET: This is one of the stronger entries against Apple iPod shuffle in the 12 and under market. Parents may go for these over iPod shuffle due to low cost. Fearing breakage, they’ll want something as disposable as possible. The kids generally listen to a handful of songs over and over, so capacity isn’t much of an issue. Plus, they’ll want the Disney themes. Disney can cross-promote like champs. Apple had better keep an eye on these.

43 Comments

  1. Cute. Apple should let companies like Disney private label the shuffle for things like this.

    You get Apple’s name in the minds of young ones while they are good and impressionable. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” /> Then as they get older, all they want are Apple products.

  2. boom,

    Probably because it is a competitor to iPod shuffle, especially for parents with young kids who might go for this instead of Apple’s product.

    That chrome one looks cool, but I bet the fingerprints on it will be nasty, not to mention “scratches.”

  3. Oh come on.. an “iPod killer”? It’s a toy, just look at the quality. They aren’t even competing for the same market. These are going to be purchased for much younger children than are currently receiving a higher quality / higher priced iPod.

    This is perfect for Disney and I hope they do well with it. Get them used to digital music players, so that they will be primed to buy/receive the ” only real” player when the time comes. Apple has to stay out of this age market, so they don’t appear to have lower quality products.

  4. This is really cute and good idea for disney, but I doubt anyone over 12 would want one. It’s in an entirely different market. It also looks good. Something none of the other Apple competitors came up with…

  5. Is this what the recent meetings Steve Jobs had with Disney came up with, the Micky Mouse Shuffle, Disney Mix Sticks?

    Still I too am with Macdude on this, after all you wouldn’t want to give your average 5 year old a Shuffle let alone an iPod in any of its flavours,.

    However if your kid is into Harry Potter I feel that your kid will be disappointed to get the Disney Mix instead of the Hogwarts Emblazoned iPod for Christmas.

    Having looked at the main website, which is linked to from the above article the write up mentions this: Music can be downloaded using standard music downloading software, or played without a PC with a Disney Mix Clip.

    Yes the clip aspect is okay, but what is meant by standard music downloading software? Does that mean the Disney Mix will work with iTunes and the Store?

  6. Oh yeah the Disney Mix is definetly NOT an iPod Killer, in fact when you think about it the only iPod Killer that has been released was the Nano, that replaced the iPod Mini – so the Nano killed that iPod.

    Only that of course, thus far, it is Apple that have released an iPod killer!

    Sillyness just to grab headlines, so now the Disney Mix gets some *free* publicity.

    MW: ‘else’ as in what else will replace the iPod – another iPod by Apple!

  7. This is actually not a bad idea and represents the first time I have had any interest whatsoever in a MP3 player other than one from Apple. I would like to get a shuffle for my little ones but 100 dollars is a bit much for an item for a 3 or 3 year old and it is nice that these are “cuted up” for little kids and hopefully made to be really tough (the interface looking like Mickey Mouse was clever). Actually even 50 dollars it a bit high but still better than 100. Too bad it won’t play music from ITMS. But on the other hand, kids usually only like 12 songs or so anyway. And since kids also are not so concerned with quality I could just burn to a CD and then rip them back as MP3.

    It says windows and Mac compatible but I wonder how they are structuring the Mac side of this? Will it be possible to put MP3 songs into the player from iTunes? I doubt very much if Apple would actively support that. It says windows media software but I try and avoid M$ software whenever possible and so have no inkling about that. If there is a Mac version that I can use for this? If so, what is it like? Like I said, it doesn’t have to be great cuz I would only need to transfer songs once in a great while.

    All that said, it would be much more ideal if Apple came out with something to compete with this or did a deal with Disney and came out with a kid’s Disney version of the iPod. I doubt that this will happen but doing impression marketing at that young of an age would be good for Apple long term.

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