updated 12:55 am EDT, Thu April 27, 2006
Inno takes on iPod?
While Apple enjoys a dominant position in the MP3 player market, garnering nearly 80 percent markeshare, it may face competition from new hybrid devices. the new Inno, which combines digital music playback along with satellite radio in a hand-held form factor, is a new next-generation portable player from XM Satellite Radio along with Pioneer and future iPod chip supplier Samsung (who also manufactures players that compete with the iPod).
The portable player offers only 1GB of capacity, but includes dozens of nifty features--according to The USA Today--including satellite radio recording (automatically broken into individual tracks), notification of favorite artists/songs playing on other XM channels, display of stock quotes/sports scores, song bookmarking for later purchase on iTunes rival Napster (but compatible with a variety of WMA-enabled services such as Rhapsody, Yahoo!, etc.), a built-in FM transmitter to broadcast to a nearby radio, and more. The Inno review concludes: "I'm not ready to swap an iPod for an Inno. But Inno is a winner. Here's hoping Apple takes a hint."
iriver America takes on Apple, iPod
Separately, at least one other digital music player manufacturer hopes to offer a better experience than the iPod. iriver America has set its sights on Apple, although many other competitors--including Olympus and Rio--have bowed out of the market due to increased competition and the dominance of the iPod.
Iriver, which declined to release details, only said that the "top-of-the line digital music player" will be designed to go head-to-head with Apple's iPod.
"We want to offer a better experience than the iPod," said Jonathan Sasse, president and chief executive officer of iriver America tol The Columbian. "Apple has a very vertical music service. You have to use your iPod with iTunes," Apple's proprietary music service.
The company said it expects cross-promotion from media and music giant MTV as well as California celebrities to help promote the new player.