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Samsung Galaxy Player Samsung Galaxy Player

Can the Samsung Galaxy Player Really Compete with the iPod Touch?

Samsung Galaxy Player

The mobile phone and tablet markets are ripe battlegrounds for Android-based gadgets to make their mark. Apple is the leader but not by a huge margin. Some predict that Android will explode in 2011. There is little doubt that Apple has its hands full trying to maintain its dominance in these areas, but at least they have the app-driven, WiFi-connected MP3 player market locked down with the iPod touch, right?

Maybe not. We’ll find out more after CES.

It is hard to imagine that the niche that lies somewhere between iPod and iPhone could have room for more players, but that’s exactly what Samsung is banking on as they unleash the latest version of the Galaxy Player at the Consumer Electronic Show next week. Some are asking if it’s the first true competitor to the touch.

It’s not.

iPod is THE Non-Phone Handheld

Pass me a Kleenex and get me a Starbucks, because that’s where the iPod Touch is when it comes to this niche. If you were to ask anyone what is out there for those who want to play music, have fully-functional apps, camera, GPS, and WiFi connections on a hand-held device without paying a monthly subscription for voice and data services, they would all say iPod Touch. There would be no exceptions.

It has embedded itself in our culture as the only device of its kind worth noting. Based upon the specs, Samsung has put together a truly comparable device, but the specs are where the comparisons can stop. Unless they sink a ton of money into marketing the device (which they won’t), no average Joe is ever going to hear about or consider it because the iPod Touch has achieved Kleenex/Starbucks status in the niche.

A Status Symbol vs A Wannabe

iPod TouchNobody wants to be considered a “wannabe” – someone or something that is a cheap and less powerful alternative to the real thing. Unfortunately, as fast as Android is growing, in this particular market it can be nothing but a wannabe.

When kids and adults across the land opened their Christmas presents last weekend to find an iPod Touch, they were thrilled and proud to have it. It’s something that they pictured themselves using, showing off to their friends, and treasuring for years to come. They thought of who to hit up on Facetime first, which songs were going to blast from it and into their headphones, and what apps they had heard of that they wanted to install immediately.

And then, it came down to who they were going to show first. And then next. And after that.

The iPod touch is a status symbol amongst teens and geeks alike. It says that you spent a lot of money on a music player that can do more than anyone else’s. It means that you’re a serious geek (in a good way) who takes music and hand-held fun seriously.

The Samsung Galaxy Player and any other that comes along for the foreseeable future mean less. Upon showing it to friends, they’ll ask, “Why didn’t you get a Touch?”

Despite the reality that it’s probably a very comparable device (perhaps even superior) it will still have that generic-brand feel, like getting the Kroger’s Peanut Butter Puffs cereal rather than spending money for real peanut butter Cap’n Crunch.

Phones and Tablets and Hand-Helds, Oh My!

tablets and phonesA year ago, the Galaxy Player may have stood a chance simply because there were fewer options. Google messed that up by not being open enough on the Android Marketplace, thus declawing any potential iPod Touch competitors. Now that they have opened up, it’s too little, too late.

The tablet and smartphone markets are growing and are ripe battlegrounds for Android-based devices to challenge Apple. Unfortunately for everyone other than Apple, that means the “tweener” market that lies somewhere in between just isn’t going to be big enough for another player.

We’re not saying that Samsung won’t be able to sell a bunch of these. Any speculation is simply speculation until CES and beyond. They have done a tremendous job pushing the Galaxy brand in the phone and tablet markets and have had moderate success, but this is one area where they will simply take what they can get from Apple’s scraps and move on down the road.

That’s probably what they expect to do. They just aren’t telling anyone.

  1. This is a typical Apple fanboy text. All you point out is the fact that Apple products are a penis enlargement adapter for those who need it, a status symbol. There will always be such people who simply buy their products because of their looks and because they want to fit into society, which prefers these products. But that doesn’t make an iPod a good player. I owned the iPod Video and used it with the alternative firmware Rockbox. Only then it was usable. The original firmware of the iPod is complete crap for someone who wants to get everything out of the hardware. Where is the ability to make my own equalizer settings? Not possible! Where is the possibility to play all songs I have in my collection? Not possible, the iPod only supports very little formats. The hardware is really very very good, but the software, please, forgive me, but it’s really a desaster!

  2. I think it’s especially tough for the samsung because it’s going into a market ruled by the ipod. The ipod had the advantage of really being the first of its kind. Everyone loved it for being new, not necessarily for being great. Because it’s so popular, the samsung will really have to work to get above the ipod.

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