When Apple debuted the iPod a decade ago, it redefined mobile audio technology. Other companies had already launched “MP3 players,” but Apple propelled portable digital music hardware into the mainstream. Sony and Creative Labs struggled to compete, but ended up with fail on their faces.
And now we have Samsung, the latest to throw its hat into the portable media player ring with the release of the Galaxy Player 3.6. This hardware is aimed at anyone considering the iPod touch, and emerges in a long line of copycat devices—Samsung has followed Apple’s lead into phones, tablets and ultrabooks.
But does the Galaxy Player 3.6 pack enough features and performance to capture the hearts (and wallets) of customers, especially when the smartphone is fast becoming the only portable media device we really need?
Possibly. First off, it’s cheaper. The Player 3.6 costs $150, while the cheapest iPod touch, the 8GB version, costs $200. It’s powered by Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) with Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface sitting atop the operating system—just like Samsung’s smartphones.
In fact, the Player 3.6 almost is a Samsung smartphone—sort of like a neutered Galaxy S.