“All right, we’ve now entered Year 5 of the iPod Era. Apple’s rivals have had plenty of time to study the iPod, figure out what makes it such a hit and offer reasonable competition,” David Pogue writes for The New York Times. “As you may have noticed, however, that hasn’t happened. Of every 100 people walking by in their little music isolation bubbles, 78 of them seem to have telltale white iPod earbuds. Year after year, the iPod’s market share drifts upward, leaving its rivals to fight over the scraps; call it Snow White and the 20 Dwarfs. The iPod’s competitors have wasted years of opportunity by assuming that they can beat the iPod on features and price alone. They’re wrong.”
“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,” Pogue reports. “This week, Samsung is the latest company claiming to have cracked the iPod formula — specifically, that of the wildly popular iPod Nano [with] ts new Z5 player… the Z5 plays music for a staggering 35 hours between charges, according to Samsung, which is 2.5 times the duration with the iPod. Unfortunately, that beefier battery means that the Z5 is no Nanoesque wafer. At just under half an inch thick, it’s two-thirds thicker than the Nano.”
“Like almost all non-iPod music players, the Z5 is based on Microsoft’s music-player software. That is, it doesn’t work with the Macintosh. 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),” Pogue reports. After ticking off ways that the Samsung entry compares to Apple’s iPod nano, Pogue writes, “The Z5… 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.”
Full article here.
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Samsung: no plans to launch ‘Apple iTunes Music Store killer’ – November 03, 2005
Samsung plans 16 new MP3 player models in bid to compete with dominant Apple iPod – August 18, 2005
Samsung determined to oust Apple to become number one in iPod market by 2007 – March 17, 2005