updated 12:15 pm EDT, Wed March 16, 2011
Samsung Galaxy Player 4 and 5 reach US
Samsung presented some of the first significant competition to the iPod touch in years on Wednesday with US versions of the Galaxy S Wi-Fi 5.0 and its 4.0 counterpart. Simply called the Galaxy Player 4" and 5" in the country, both run Android 2.2 and will be upgradable to 2.3 in the future. The four- and five-inch versions both have front (VGA) and rear (3.2-megapixel) cameras and will come with both Skype and Qik for voice and video chat when on Wi-Fi.
They should also be some of the few pocketable media players to support Flash 10.1 and will have DLNA media sharing. Both are equally rare in having GPS and can work as true stand-alone navigators when using a GPS app with offline maps, including Google Maps 5.
The two ship with 8GB of storage built-in and have microSDHC slots to take up to 32GB more. Samsung is keen to tout that, as Android devices, they don't need a sync app to load content and will work with drag-and-drop for those comfortable with manually loading their media. They support most common media formats, including the usual AAC, MP3, MPEG-4, H.264 and Windows Media but also DivX, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, and XviD.
Samsung unusually didn't give a ship date or a price for either Galaxy Player beyond a spring release, though they're expected to cost much less than a Galaxy S-based phone would off-contract.
Apple has dominated the MP3 player market in the US for several years and has gone nearly unopposed in the high-end touchscreen arena, where most of its competitors either have refused to enter or have bowed out. With the exception of Archos, it's also virtually the only significant company making MP3 players using Android. The iPod's advantage in the space has been its support for third-party apps and strong Internet support where most either don't have support at all or have been extremely limited.
We tried the Galaxy Player 5 last month and found the design surprisingly good in the hand and portable while also being surprisingly fast and feature-loaded. It still uses the TouchWiz interface, which has sometimes been criticized for being overly simple, but makes more sense in a non-phone device.