Quick Market Survey on MP3 Players

The San Diego Union-Tribune Sunday paper had a good number of non-Apple MP3 players for sale (cash prices listed).  Here is a sample of what I saw:

  • Big Lots! - RCA Lyra 256-MB MP3 Player for $29.99
  • Target - Memorex 512-MB MP3 Player for $58
  • Office Depot - Philips 1GB MP3 Player for $69.99 (with a $30 mail-in rebate offer); Archos 4GB Mp3 Player for $159.99 (with a $20 mail-in rebate offer)
  • Best Buy - Samsung 1GB U2JZ MP3 Player  for $79.99; Sandisk 2GB E250 MP3 Player for $129.99
  • CompuUSA - Sandisk 2GB E250 MP3 Player for $129.99
  • Circuit City - Sony 2GB Flash Digital Music Player for $129.99; Creative Labs 8-GB Zen MicroPhoto MP3 Player for $179.99; and Creative Labs 30GB Zen Vision:M for $299.99

It should be noted that the RCA Lyra also has a SD/MMC slot for expansion storage.  And the San Disk E250 has a Mini-SD slot for additional storage.

Also the only direct Apple iPods advertising that I saw was for the 30-GB Black or White iPod via BestBuy's online store (no price listed).

Do I Need An iPod To Listen To Podcasts?

It is funny to me that this question and the answer to this is a Top Tip at Extreme Tech, but it is.

And of course the answer is - "NO" - you can listen to podcasts with any device that plays an MP3 including many car stereos via CDROM.

An interesting side note is that Mike @ The Mike Tech Show recently did a show on MP3 players that his listeners were using.  The diversity is pretty amazing. Here is the list via his blog:

Mini-Link Fest - New Media Focus?!?

I made a recent dent in reading through my RSS feeds, and I have the following items to check up on when I'm working through @Internet, and I thought I'd share them:

Digital Picture Frames vs. PSP

I've always wanted digital photo/picture frames to become more mainstream.  It seemed so logical to me.

It looks like prices are really dropping and they aren't requiring those silly subscription service models. Here is a summary of some ads I saw in the Sunday paper:

  • Linens-N-Things: $99.99 with a 5.6" LCD screen, works with digital media cards (#NV-560, LNT.COM, #18976001)
  • Best Buy: Westinghouse 8" LCD Screen for $229.99
  • Ritz Camera: PhotoShare 7" LCD; supports Mac&PC downloads or memory card for $99.99
  • Ritz Camera: 7" Digital Photo Frame with MP3 player (built-in speakers, earphone jack, video output, plus remote control) for $199.99.  Also supports media cards like: SD, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Microdrive, and CF Memory
  • CompUSA.com: 8" Memoryvue Digital Photo Frame for $199.99 (after rebates).  Supports CF, SD, MMC, and Memory Stick cards.  Also plays MP3s.

An alternative should be noted that if you are going to spend ~$200, you might want to pick up a Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP). They are now selling for $199.99.  It seems to be the biggest bang for $200 out there.

Eurythmics.com Excellent Podcasts

Some how and I can't remember now how, I got subscribed to the Eurythmics.com podcast.  There are only four of them that I know about but they are fabulous.   I have links directly to the MP3 below:

These are great examples of how an artist can share not only their music but the history of how it was all put together.

New Apple Video iPod Illegal In California?

There was a new law I think passed last year (2004) that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2005 in the State of California on what type of "video displays" can be visible to driver.

On the California Driver Handbook - Laws and Rules of the Road says:

Do not drive a vehicle equipped with a video monitor if the monitor is visible to the driver and displays anything other than vehicle  information or global mapping displays.

I need to do some digging and find the actual reference.  From the above text, I think even looking at my iRiver MP3 players screen could be consider a violation?

[UPDATE: Political cartoonist David Branch has his take on the Video iPod.]

Guerrilla Marketing - Microsoft Vista Versions?

I am not sure if I have the term right for what I think Microsoft is doing - floating an idea that isn't that good, to gain favor for a changed decision in the future.  It is sort of guerrilla marketing but maybe it is just a strong form of psychological marketing manipulation.

Here is the theory ... Microsoft pre-announces (nothing really confirmed) their pre-Vista product marketing plan with 9 or so versions.  Nobody likes it, especially folks like John Dvorak.

Actually, you weren't suppose to like it.  You are suppose to think it is stupid and a bad idea. That is part of the plan.

Come next Fall 2006 when Vista ships, Microsoft makes a "BIG" splash and says "we listened to everyone complaining about all the versions" so we just made one (with two/three vertical solutions).

It is either that (they are brilliant), or their marketing/sales team with 9 product SKUs are really in the need of some reality juice, because that currently floated idea stinks IMHO.

Only time will tell ... speaking of predictions ... my Apple video iPod prediction from 8/3/05 based on Engadget data was correct.  Not a hard prediction though, and that probably makes me 1/100. :-)