Samsung Debuts 6 New Music Players; Targets Apple’s Dominance

Samsung unveiled six new portable digital media players Thursday, aimed at cutting into Appleis 70% worldwide market share of music devices.

Among the new products include the YH-999, a 20 gigabyte (GB) Personal Media Player (PMP) that plays MP3 and Windows Media Audio (WMA) files as well as records television programs for playback. The unit weighs in at 7.4 ounces -- two ounces more than thefourht-generation iPod.

The YH-925 (see photo below) is Samsungis new, top of the line audio player with a color display and 20GB hard drive. Weighing 4.2 ounces, the unit plays Ogg Vorbis files as well as MP3, WMA, and Secure WMA and is Janus-ready for upgrading to play music files from online music services. The YH-925 also displays photos in JPEG format.

The YH-820 is identical to the YH-925, but with a smaller, 5GB hard drive.

The YP-T7Z and the YP-T7X are flash-based players with 1GB and 512 megabytes (MB) of storage, respectively. Both players display JPEG photo file, have FM tuners as well as FM recording for recording broadcasts via a built-in timer. The players also offer voice recording capabilities. The units play Ogg Vorbis files as well as MP3, WMA, and Secure WMA formats.

The six new models are expected to be released in the first half of the year, the company said. Pricing ranges from $169.99 to $799.99.

Samsung has declared that their goal is to triple their MP3 player sales this year alone and to unseat Apple as the number one player by 2007. The company plans to sell at least 5 million units this year, up from from 1.7 million last year and is targeting to grab a 10% market share in the U.S. this year.

"We aim to sell more than 5 million MP3 players this year versus 1.7 million sold last year," Samsung vice president Kim Suh-kyum told the Reuters news agency at a press conference in Seoul. Mr. Suh-kyum said part of the companyis MP3 success will be to former "strategic alliances" with Microsoft.

Appleis popular iPod digital media device and iTunes Music Store (iTMS) have a 70% share of the global digital music player and music download markets. In the United States, Appleis market share is 80%.

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