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Dell Music Store and DJ player announced

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By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Thursday, September 25, 2003
News Categories: Digital Media

Today Dell announced that it will be releasing a new music service and a new digital music player dubbed ‘Digital Jukebox’ or ‘DJ’. Dell describes the iPod-like device as “a digital music player featuring a sleek design, with large storage capacity, excellent battery life and easy-to-use controls.” The Dell Music Store is described as “the new music download service that offers thousands of music selections and allows seamless, legal downloading of songs to the Dell DJ. The service can also analyze customers’ song play history to recommend specific artists and songs that can be purchased using the service.” “Pricing and additional details of Dell’s new consumer electronics and computers will be announced when the products become available.”

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Comments

1

“Pricing and additional details of Dell’s new consumer electronics and computers will be announced when we figure out how Apple did it.  We’re just making stuff up right now.”

Posted by Michael on September 25, 2003 at 9:01 AM (PDT)

2

Is it that difficult for people to come up with something original? That button design has been done by some other crappy player and the gui is a nearly exactly the same as the iPod….i wish people would be original….howabout instead of trying to steal Apple’s market with a similar device, create a new market and a new device…at least Creative doesn’t copy Apple’s design…

Posted by zync on September 25, 2003 at 11:59 AM (PDT)

3

i meant…the gui is nearly an exact copy of the iPod’s…

Posted by zync on September 25, 2003 at 12:01 PM (PDT)

4

That Dell player (like all the others, except for Ipod) is butt-freakin’-ugly.

The people who design these things have no sense of style or design.  They come up with the ugliest layouts.  Big, bulky, clunky, stupid button layouts, shapes and sizes, ugly colors, and ugly screens.  Companies need to quit lettin’ the nerds design these things and let some industrial design grads take the reigns.  At least they’d come up with something original.  Unless of course they employ geeks who also have great artistic abilities and sensibilities (like Steve Jobs - or whoever is responsible for designing the Ipod in the first place).

So what’s my final opinion on Dell’s player?  Well, hold on… I’ll get back to that, just as soon as I’m done listening to my Ipod.

Posted by Z on September 25, 2003 at 12:30 PM (PDT)

5

I just can’t see a product like this being the next most popular digital music player in the US, or in the world for that matter. The iPod is just something that has a design like none other, that is so distinct and beautiful that its hard to describe. I would say that society has learned to identify with Apple’s player, and Dell has a long way to go to catch up to Apple’s success.

This player has a rather “cliched” design, not that much unlike the Creative NJBZ, and looks really ugly. Even if it does have more features like the NJBZ, it still will not beat the iPod by a long shot.

Posted by Sraphim on September 25, 2003 at 1:36 PM (PDT)

6

I’ve just seen a front shot of Dell’s new mp3 player.. but I think the design is great.. I think Dell did a good job on all their new products.. can’t wait for more info

Posted by touch sensitive on September 25, 2003 at 2:08 PM (PDT)

7

Not all the new players are ugly - and some people prefer a “techie” look to Aple’s minimalist design. What do you think of some of these? They all have better S/N ratio than the stock unmodded iPod, and many of them feature recording and/or video, and some even support higher-fidelity OGGs and lossless FLAC codecs.

Rio Karma
http://www.digitalnetworksna.com/shop/_templates/item_main_Rio.asp?model=220&cat=53
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/54/32273.html

Toshiba Gigabeat
http://www.zdnet.com.au/reviews/coolgear/mp3/story/0,2000023541,20277833,00.htm

RCA Lyra
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00008VFCU/
http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00008VFCU.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

Archos AV
http://www.mp3newswire.net/stories/2003/archosav320review.html
“Calling the Archos AV320 an iPod on steroids is more than an understatement simply because the iPod is not yet in this class. Word is an iPod mediabox is in the works, but until that happens it is the iPod that aspires to be the Archos AV320.”

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,3973,1202342,00.asp

Posted by VideoDudes on September 25, 2003 at 2:10 PM (PDT)

8

Well, lo and behold. iPod users have been asking for a voice recording feature, i donno, like for about 2 years now. It is too bad for Apple that Dell decided earlier to step up to the challange.

I bet you that it will have on-the-go playlists too, without having to spend another $400…

Posted by pbox on September 25, 2003 at 2:38 PM (PDT)

9

Don’t worry, folks- the iPod will remain the most desirable player in the market. But, knowing Dell’s approach to any product they put out, the DJ will likely be super-affordable and offer a lot of storage for the money. I am guessing this will not cost more than $200 and have at least a 30 GB HDD. Also, expect to see a recording feature built-in. In exchange for that, a lot of people will gladly accept inferior design and usability. Also, PC users will see this as a quicker and less costly way to own a HDD-based MP3 player than buying a product from a company that still treats them like a side business. Steve and his team will have to offer a lot more than “just” good design and easy usability to keep up with that.
But I am still hoping that within a few weeks, the long-awaited new firmware and new peripherals will show up that will propel the iPod way ahead of this lame Dell product. So let’s keep waiting…

Posted by Bademeister on September 25, 2003 at 2:42 PM (PDT)

10

I don’t care for the looks of the Rio or the Toshiba at all, but each to his own.

But the RCA and the Archos are pretty nice.  Although they do much more than just play MP3’s.  I was talking about devices that play audio only (not recording and video as well) that I think are quite unattractive.

I’d like to see what the Ipod looks like when it’s desgined with a color screen and the ability to display video and graphics and so forth.  I don’t doubt the Ipod will be far more elegant or sexy (or whatever you want to call it) than even what the RCA and Archos are.

Apple just knows how to design hardware, IMO.

Posted by Z on September 25, 2003 at 2:56 PM (PDT)

11

One thing I do want to add, is that I’m so glad that Dell is trying to spread their tentacles further.  The one good thing they do is force other companies to innovate more and slash their pricing in order to stay competitive.  This is the best thing for us consumers.  So for that, I say, “Thanks Dell !”

Posted by Z on September 25, 2003 at 3:00 PM (PDT)

12

One observation though:

When Dell came out with the Axim, all the Pocket PC prices took a plunge. Before Axim it was about $400 each on average, now it is $200-$250 now. We can only hope that the Dell JukeBox will have the same effect on the market…

Posted by pbox on September 25, 2003 at 3:35 PM (PDT)

13

“iPod users have been asking for a voice recording feature, i donno, like for about 2 years now. It is too bad for Apple that Dell decided earlier to step up to the challange.”

I’ve been recording for a couple of years on my Archos. Not just analog recording… it has DIGITAL input and output. So as well as my audio lectures, I’ve been recording raw data straight from CDs through the optical cable into the Archos for on-the-fly conversion into VBR MP3s.

Archos - butt ugly but feature-full! And half the price of an iPod. And did I mention it has “on the go” playlists to die for!
http://rockbox.haxx.se/docs/features.html

Sometimes you do get more than what you paid for!

Posted by ArchosYMMV on September 25, 2003 at 3:48 PM (PDT)

14

From reading these boards, I have learned that no product will ever be better than whatever Apple originally put out.  It’s always something: too different, too similar, I don’t need those features, it doesn’t have these features, it’s not as user friendly, it doesn’t work with Mac, blah blah… 

Even the 3G iPods got a ton of flack from existing iPod owners when it first came out.  I don’t know why everyone feels the need to be so defensive about the iPod.  It is still the best on the market right now, but guess what, some of these new devices are going to do well in the market too.  Maybe it’s a new feature or a much lower price. 

We should at least recognize the merits of some of these new devices so that Apple incorporates them instead of always looking for a way to dismiss it.

Posted by Albert on September 25, 2003 at 3:59 PM (PDT)

15

I foolishly sold my 20 GB Archos Recorder because
of lack of disk space (and lack of confidence to attempt a drive replacment)
and got one of the 30 GB ‘New’ iPods…. I hate it


Yes it is incredibly light, amazingly small and stunningly sexy but…

Battery life about 6 hours max, awfull user interface, the whole database
driven front end would mean weeks of tweaking ID3 tags. In the 6 weeks I
used it, it crashed and lost all my music 3 times, and the battery indicator
says fully charged right up the point where it shuts down!


The restore is rubbish… No Bookmarks and if you Dock the iPod to charge it, you loose you resume…


basically 400 down the tubes, it’s now up for sale at about 300 if you
know anyone ...? And I have just had an Archos FM Recorder with a 40 GB HDD fitted
from http://www.newmp3technology.com/, Flashed it with Rockbox and am once
again a happy bunny….

Posted by IPod4Sale on September 25, 2003 at 4:11 PM (PDT)

16

I hope the DellPod is file-driven over database-driven. But given their apparent slavish copy of the iPod interface this looks unlikely.

One thing I hate about iPods is that they are database-driven (through iTunes). This is fine when you are beginning with audio and know jack about MP3s, but when you want to build up a complete collection its a pain in the a**. iTunes hides too much of the details from me. I am *this close* to trading up to a Neuros or Archos or Karma that will let me mount the device as a simple hard drive on my deskop and move file folders at will.

in general a database-based system
plugs the songs into a database with fields like title, group, genre and so
on. The plus is you can re-arrange the presentation by, for example, genre,
instead of whatever hierarchy you have them arranged on your hard drive. The
minus is that you have to run all your music through some sort of host-based
software. That software is where Apples does such evil as DRM.

A file-based system works just like, say, WinAmp on a PC. It plays files
that contain MP3 sound data. The plus is, of course, that you only need copy
the files to your machine to have them available to play. The minus is, they
present in the file tree hierarchy you’ve specified. Most of the minus is
overcome by playlists, particularly in conjunction with a programs that can build playlists according to genre or other ID3 info.

I prefer the file based architecture. No host PC software is required and the audio player can function on its own. That’s what held up “on the go” playlists on the iPod for so long, this crazy reliance on the “socializing” over-reaching iTunes and the necessity to redock with the Mac to change stuff on the iPod.

Posted by BetterMP3 on September 25, 2003 at 4:31 PM (PDT)

17

I hear ya Albert.. I agree with you 100%.  I think some people are a little uhm..weird for giving the Ipod a somewhat divine status.  This new model from Dell looks interesting.. I’m sure it will be a good quality player, just like the Ipod is, and the design is better than what some of you are making it out to seem.. but I will wait till I see one in person to give my full opinion on it.

Posted by touch sensitive on September 25, 2003 at 5:42 PM (PDT)

18

i def agree with everybody that competition is good. Im sure the ipod prices will come down. It would be nice if the lower end ipod was priced more around 100 dollars. I think at that point the ipod would acheive portable cd player status. I show people my ipod and they are still like “what is that?”

im pretty sure the ipod will have line in recording pretty soon. It would really be stupid for them not to. It would be a great feature and it certainly is possible.

Oh yeah there is one more thing. Im really sick of these people posting ipod problems in the wrong message board. That is what the ipod support page is for on the apple site. really stop complaining. Im pretty sure none of us here care that you had all these horrible problems with your ipod and sold it on ebay. I ussually just ignore these people. But im kind of sick of sorting through these messages and all the other garbage on the internet

Posted by bellychris on September 25, 2003 at 9:17 PM (PDT)

19

Database driven systems do have an advantage (speed).  It takes a hell of a lot longer to search for songs in file driven systems.

3G buttons are a ##### though.  They’re pretty unresponsive when a big song is playing and it takes forever to skip.

Posted by tetro on September 25, 2003 at 10:59 PM (PDT)

20

> Database driven systems do have an advantage (speed).

That’s a good point. WinAmp chokes on large collections.

But you can have a database system that integrates with a transparent file system. For example, I use one such cool software with my iPod: Media Center.

http://www.musicex.com/mediacenter/

Now, I’m a media packrat. I have 600GB of audio and video, 125,000+ files, and believe me when I tell you that iTunes chokes and dies rather ungracefully trying to manage this collection!

But with Media Center, and its awesome “Media Library” manager, any file is just a couple of keys away. Maximum search times are around 2s on a P3 1GHz. That’s pretty sweet.

And it streams audio over the internet, has a media scheduler that records on demand, integrates with my Tivo, and transcodes media on-demand into whatever format I want.

Best of all, although it derives much of its speed from using a similar database-driven approach as iTunes, the pathname is one of the database fields, easily visible to the user and to applications, so I know where my files are at all times. I can’t say the same for iTunes.

Posted by MediaCenter on September 26, 2003 at 8:36 AM (PDT)

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