Though Apple is leading the digital media device market with the iPod, there are a host of companies offering iPod alternatives, and Time magazine has published a roundup featuring Sonyis NW-HD3 Network Walkman, Toshibais Gigabeat MEG F20, the iRiver H10, and the Zen Micro. Time positions all four units as a different way to get your music fix, with the iPod as the product to beat.
The article starts off by listing perceived problems of the iPod, including a short battery life and "the proprietary digital-music format that joins you at the hip to Appleis iTunes online store."
The latter is in reference to iTunes Music Store downloads, which come with a DRM scheme that limits them to being played only on an iPod, or on a Mac or PC with iTunes. These are the same limitations found with competing services, an issue that Time didnit address in its introduction.
After contrasting the four featured music players to similar iPod offerings, the article closed by noting that Appleis offerings beat the competition when it comes to ease of use.
"Thereis a gap between understanding what users want and being able to provide it," Susan Kevorkian, an analyst at market-research firm International Data Corp., told Time.
She told the magazine that Appleis main edge is the iPodis sophisticated software and "deceptively simple" user interface, but that the market for these devices is still young.
You can find more information in the full article at Time.