The world of MP3 music players has been almost entirely dominated by Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), which effectively created the market when it launched the iPod, and has continued to run with it — despite sales of iPod devices slowing down more recently, as more people move to listening to music on their smartphones. But could there be an opportunity to reinvent the MP3 player with the rise of Android? Samsung is hoping so.
The mobile device maker, currently one of the biggest developing smartphones and tablets on the Android platform, has launched two new Android-powered, WiFi-only Galaxy Player devices, in 4- and 5-inch models.
The devices are due in the U.S. this spring after debuting in Europe last Januar. The pricing has yet to be revealed but expected to be significantly cheaper than the smartphone Galaxy devices.
The Player is effectively specced like a smartphone but without the cellular chipset: front and rear cameras, stereo speakers/microphone, and support for Flash. Preinstalled apps include Skype and Qik, as well as the obligatory hotlink to the Android Market and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) apps.
Unlike the iPod, the Galaxy Player doesn’t have a dedicated desktop music management programme like iTunes to sync music and buy more tracks (which could be a bonus for more users.)
But is the world wanting more media players right now? Given the increasing power (and decreasing price) of smartphones, that might have a negative impact on how many people would be interested in buying a WiFi-only device on top of owning a smartphone.
Apple itself, in the last quarter, reported that sales of iPods were down: 19.45 million iPods were sold, but that was a seven percent decline compared to the same quarter a year ago.
And there is that question mark over whether Android’s domination in mobile, combined with Samsung’s Galaxy branding, will do the trick of bettering Apple at what has become its own game of making music players.
The blogger John Gruber yesterday pondered whether any Android tablet could better Apple’s iPad in the market. The example device used to prove Apple’s domination in media players? The iPod.