NY Times, David Pogue Looks At 6 iPod Wannabes

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It is good to be king. The iPod enjoys a market share among MP3 player that makes Appleis CEO, Steve Jobs, happy enough to have mentioned it during Januaryis Macworld in San Francisco.

As is the case with most things Apple produces -- even items that donit have a kingis share of the market -- the companyis competitors are making music players that are similar to, but seldom equal to, Appleis offerings. David Pogue, has taken a look at the six best iPod wannabes and has posted his assessment in an article in the New York Times. Hereis a bit of the article, For iPod, 6 Flavors of Flattery:

Note: The New York Time require you to register, for free, to view its articles.

So far, Appleis iPod is by far the best seller among high-capacity players. You canit stand in a public place without seeing a pair of those telltale white earbud cords pass by; for once in its life, Apple gets to find out what itis like to be Microsoft. The iPodis success has spawned an entire industry of iPod cases, iPod accessories, iPod software - and now, inevitably, iPod imitators.

The rivals come from electronics makers (Samsung) and from fellow computer makers (Dell, Gateway), as well as from veteran music-player makers (Rio, Creative Labs, iRiver).

Most have the familiar iPod ingredients: a screen, a tiny hard drive and a rechargeable battery, all packed into a rectangular case and accompanied by earbuds. Most come with jukebox software that loads your collection of music files - which youive either downloaded or "ripped" from music CDs - onto the player over a USB 2.0 cable.

The other notable feature of these competitors is a marketing message thatis either "just like the iPod, only cheaper" or "just like the iPod, only better."

Now, youire a busy person, so hereis the gist: most of these rivals are cheaper - usually US$100 less. But "better" is another story. The iPod is still smaller, more attractive and more thoughtfully designed than any of the upstarts.

Mr. Pogueis article goes on to look at some of the general pros and cons of each of the six players. Itis a great read, so stop by the New York Times for the full article.

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