updated 08:15 am EDT, Fri August 15, 2008
Dell Plans 2 MP3 Players
Dell's planned return to MP3 players will include not just one but two devices and a hardware-independent software approach, say multiple sources of BusinessWeek. Without providing full details, the magazine claims that a second device beyond the original, sub-$100 Wi-Fi player will arrive but that both will launch after the software that they will use, shipping in early 2009 rather than September.
The software in question has also received new details and is designed to challenge the single-device nature of iTunes and the iPod, the report notes. Zing's already confirmed software will allegedly be sent to "other companies" besides Dell, including cellphone manufacturers and multiple online music stores, with the goal of creating a more universal standard and to permit media sharing between devices and users. A customer of Amazon MP3 could send a song to a friend's phone or to a satellite radio, according to the claims, although it's not explained how a radio without short-range tuning or permanent storage could support the feature.
This software is nonetheless said to translate content to forms other devices could understand and is known to include remote streaming. Dell will first launch the Zing app on "small, cheap laptops" due in September that are most likely to be part of the Inspiron 910 series, which starts with as little as 4GB of flash storage and so can hold very little music of its own in normal use.
The previously unnamed former Apple executive heading the project is now known to be Tim Bucher, a previous engineering head at the iPod maker and largely remembered for winning a settlement in a wrongful dismissal suit the year after his forced exit from the company in 2004.