Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dell to Launch iPod Competitor?

Dell is reportedly working on a portable music player and complementary music download software that will rival the Apple iPod and iTunes. We've heard the "rival the iPod" strategy over and over, but no one has really succeeded in coming even close to the iconic device. Could Dell's product be the one to do it?

According to reports, the device Dell is currently testing sounds pretty basic, and is rumoured to sell for around $100 should it become available (some say as early as September). It would use WiFi, and have the ability to connect to a number of different music download services, which are somehow accessed and organized through a Dell software program.

I'm tempted to "yawn" at this announcement. Why? 1) nothing has really been confirmed yet, and 2) many have tried, and none have succeeded in surpassing the iPod in user interface, design, and, most important, consumer demand.

Keep in mind that I'm not an iPod fan nor owner, despite what it might sound like. But you'd have to have been living under a rock for the past few years not to realize that it'll take a heck of a player and software suite to turn people's attention away from their precious i-devices. A few suggestions that might help sway the decision: make music transfer and acquisition easy, find a way to rid the device and the tunes that are loaded onto it completely of DRM, make it accept all music file types, and add an SD or microSD card slot for expandable storage.

Aside from that, it's too bad that Dell just announced it would be getting rid of its standalone kiosk locations in Canada (it has already done so in the U.S.) They could have served as great music downloading stations!

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JET said...

At dinner with the kids last night, both my girls were in hysterics that their mom had a Sony walkman, a cassette one no less!

We then reminded them that the day will come when their kids will be in hysterics laughing that they had an iPod.

That's the beautiful part of consumer electronics, nothing stays still and the latest and greatest in the end, always has a shelf life. Maybe Dell has it in them. You never know.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, like Dell would ever build something that takes into account ease of use or strong design which are the fundamental reasons why the iPod become a success. And don't give me the BS about the cachet factor. Bottom line is that iPod fostered the digital music revolution by democratizing the industry. Dell's version of an iPod will weigh twice as much, contain DRM restrictions, will be clunky, and only have a shelf life of 6 months. And guaranteed Micro$oft will power the device. No thanks.

ascariss said...

I don't think any company really has the funds or time to launch a succesful ipod competitor and dethrone apple.

I myself am no fan of ipods, apart from their poor design, plastic feel and itunes.

I myself have been a sony fan and always will be. Sure the atrac days were bad, and sonicstage and connect player were horrible, but now that sony has gone all open with drag and drop or windows media player.

Apart from the great build quality of sonys (the higher end ones), they have the best sounds in the business and long battery life.

dell should stick to pcs.

Lee_D said...

A comment I made on my blog about 18 months ago was that in the world of mp3 player marketshare, iPod was the 50-foot great white shark, and every other player are just the little fish swimming in its wake nipping up the little leftover scraps.

I like Dell, both the company and their products, but I just don't see them dethroning Apple anytime soon.