updated 08:25 am EDT, Tue August 31, 2010
Philips GoGear Connect made official
Philips today unveiled what should be the first full-fledged, globally available media player to use Android. The GoGear Connect provides full Android, including access to Android Market and even Google Maps, but has a focus on media apps. The device also builds in some phone-like features with a camera, and the option of wireless media syncing over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Aiming for a more iTunes-like seamless experience, the Dutch company is providing a special version of Songbird to sync content. A microSDHC slot is built-in for those who want to transfer music manually.
The Connect is planned for a worldwide launch and will ship in late October for 249 euros ($315) for a 16GB model. A US launch is expected, though American pricing hasn't been made public.
Samsung has had a very limited release of a phoneless Android handheld in the YP-MB2, but Google's operating system until now hasn't been used in earnest for an MP3 player. The platform has been hurt in part by Google's rudimentary media support but also by Apple's much stronger position in the MP3 player arena than in phones, which increases the difficulty of challenging the iPod. The iPod touch has remained the least opposed as few other touchscreen players have had a true app platform.
Microsoft's Zune HD has been the only major device of its kind with an app framework but has been hobbled by an insistence on Microsoft-chosen apps and a decision to abandon the platform in favor of Windows Phone 7 despite less than a year on the market.