After two years of market dominance, Apple’s iPod is finally getting “a run for its money,” according to Wall Street Journal columnist Wall Mossberg. Mossberg’s latest Personal Tech column, entitled
Attack of the iPod Clones, discusses the burgeoning threat of Apple’s MP3 player market competitors. Though mainly of interest to Windows users — as two of the devices Mossberg mentions are, for now, for Windows only — it’s worth comparing how Apple’s own offering shores up against some big names in the high-capacity MP3 player space.
Mossberg and his assistant compared Apple’s iPod to Dell’s new DJ and the Samsung Napster YP-910GS.
“Like the iPod, which integrates tightly with Apple’s excellent iTunes online music download store on Windows and Mac, these two new players were designed to work closely with the other two major new download services,” explained Mossberg.
Specifically, Samsung’s device is designed to work hand-in-hand with Roxio’s new Napster 2.0 service, while Dell’s DJ mates itself to Musicmatch’s new download store, which Dell will rebrand and distribute.
“After testing the players for weeks against the latest iPod with new features Apple added this month, I still give the edge to Apple, but the margin is very slim and the other players, especially the Dell, are credible alternatives,” said Mossberg.
The iPod still wins Mossberg’s nod because it’s lighter and thinner, comes in higher capacities, has better software and integrates better with the iTunes Music Store than Dell’s and Samsung’s offers do with their respective services.
Mossberg takes careful notice of the Dell DJ, which he claimed has double the battery life of the iPod and is less expensive too, while having “a very clean user interface that borrows a lot from the iPod itself.” Samsung’s Napster-brand offering gets an FM radio, but suffers from a clumsier interface.
“… Apple has real competition in this market. I expect the Dell, and possibly even the Samsung, to steal sales from the iPod in a way that no previous competitor has been able to do,” Mossberg concludes, after a lengthy comparison of features and capabilities. Read more at the link above.