has a $20 software offering called pBop that may remind you more than a little of Apple’s iPod. While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, pBop flattered the iPod too much as far as Apple’s legal department was concerned.
“Apple felt pPod was being ‘passed off’ as an Apple iPod,” Starbrite spokesman Ryan Kelly told MacCentral. “We were surprised to hear this as we have heard of no one buying a Windows powered Pocket PC application, being confused they are buying a hardware device.”
While no one would mistake a Pocket PC-based PDA for an iPod, the diminutive device can run a variety of software and store a variety of files, including MP3 audio files. Starbrite developed pBop to give Pocket PC PDA users a “functional, easy to use MP3 player” that Ryan Kelly said is inspired by some of the most popular MP3 players on the market, including the iPod.
pBop’s resemblance to the iPod was unmistakable, especially when the product first launched: It was originally called pPod, and featured an interface that was practically identical to third-generation iPods. The software included a navigation menu remarkably similar to the iPod’s, enabling users to browse stored MP3 files by artist, track name and album. Touch buttons and a touch wheel interface even allowed users to navigate using their thumbs rather than the Pocket PC’s stylus — all in the same placement as Apple’s iPod.
Kelly said that Starbrite has “cooperated fully to address Apple’s concerns.” The developer changed the layout of the software so the touch pad is now located between the menu and the buttons. Starbrite changed pPod’s name to pBop, and also put a disclaimer on its Web site stating that the company has no connection to Apple or the iPod.