Samsung Galaxy Player 4.0 and 5.0 hands-on

By on March 16, 2011 at 3:13 PM.

Samsung Galaxy Player 4.0 and 5.0 hands-on

We just returned from Samsung’s 2011 spring lineup press conference. During it, Samsung announced 4-inch and 5-inch models of its Galaxy Player personal media device. It’s not the first time we’ve heard of the Galaxy Player, we had some hands-on time during Mobile World Congress, but we finally have confirmation that the two models will land in the United States. Clearly, the two are meant to compete with other PMPs such as the iPod touch, as both models run Android 2.2 (Froyo) and will be upgradeable to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). We think the duo will serve as compelling mini-tablets an a solid iPod touch alternative (since the Zune is fading into the ether). In many ways, the devices felt like smaller versions of the Galaxy Tab Wi-Fi edition. They have similar features, too — such as a 3.2-megapixel rear-facing camera with flash, and a front-facing VGA camera for video chat using Qik. Both models felt very light, albeit sturdy, in the hand. Both also offer 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity, stereo speakers, support for Adobe Flash 10.1, and AllShare with DLNA support that allows you to stream media content to other DLNA certified devices — such as TVs or consoles.

While pricing for the Galaxy Tab player models was not announced, we suspect both will be more affordable than the larger 7-inch Galaxy Tab. If you already own a Galaxy S phone, which sports a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen, a 5MP camera, and more, then the 4-inch model is probably not going to be up your alley. However, we were impressed by the pocketability and size of the 5-inch version. Hit up our gallery to take a closer look at the Galaxy Player.

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Bloomberg: Microsoft to discontinue the Zune

By on March 14, 2011 at 5:59 PM.

Bloomberg: Microsoft to discontinue the Zune

According to Bloomberg’s Dina Bass, Microsoft will discontinue selling its Zune music player sometime this year. Launched in 2006, the Zune was Microsoft’s response to Apple’s iPod music player and offered us our first look at the Metro UI — the user interface now present on Windows Phone devices. According to Bass, the company will refocus its efforts on the Zune software; working to improve its functionality and usefulness on devices running Microsoft’s new mobile operating system. Microsoft declined to directly comment on the device’s future. “We have nothing to announce about another Zune device,” said a company spokesperson. “Our long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms.” Zune hardware — the Zune HD — was last refreshed in September of 2009. More →

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Samsung Galaxy Player to take on iPod touch

By on December 27, 2010 at 9:17 AM.

Samsung Galaxy Player to take on iPod touch

While we haven’t yet been able to independently confirm the report, Samsung Hub claims that a new addition to Samsung’s Galaxy family is set to be introduced at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The device, dubbed Galaxy Player, will be an Android-powered portable media player that will take on the iPod touch. According to the report, it will essentially be a Samsung Galaxy S without the cellular connectivity, featuring a 1GHz processor, a 4-inch WVGA touchscreen display (LCD, not AMOLED), T-DMB, SoundAlive audio enhancement technology, dual cameras, HD video playback support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and the Android 2.2 OS. Samsung Hub states that the Galaxy Player will be available in three sizes, 8 GB, 16 GB and 32 GB, though pricing and a firm release date are not yet available. More →

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Zune HD available today; apps and games coming soon

By on September 15, 2009 at 9:01 AM.

Zune HD available today; apps and games coming soon

Zune-HD

A triple dose of good news today for those who resent Apple’s stranglehold on the PMP market. Not only is the Zune HD now on sale starting at $219.99, but Microsoft has finally come clean and admitted that in the upcoming months it plans to bombard the Zune faithful and converts alike with apps such as Twitter for Zune and Facebook for Zune, and games like Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition, Vans Sk8: Pool Service and Audiosurf Tilt. Not only that, but Zune HD owners can also look forward to streaming HD video to the Xbox 360 as well as the ability to purchase and rent TV shows, movies and more. Microsoft, this is yours to mess up… Please don’t. Anyone have a shiny new Zune HD squarely in his or her sights today?

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Sony to launch S and E Series Walkmans in September

By on August 25, 2009 at 1:25 PM.

Sony to launch S and E Series Walkmans in September

With the Zune HD on the horizon and a refreshed iPod touch looming, some might say it’s hard to even think about getting amped for Sony’s upcoming S Series and E Series Walkmans. Others however, might say these sleek and inexpensive players are just what the doctor ordered. Sony announced this morning that it would be bringing two new Walkman lines to market next month — the well-leaked S Series and the not-so-well-leaked E Series. Starting with the S Series, we’re looking at a 2.4-inch QVGA display, FM tuner with recording capability, built-in stereo speakers and up to 42 hours of audio/6.4 hours of video playback on a single charge (17 hours audio/5 hours video using the stereo speakers). The cheaper E Series is a much more basic player with a 2-inch display and none of the bells and whistles found on the S. Pricing is where things get interesting: The S Series will run $110 for the 8GB model and $130 for the 16GB model while the E Series will be $80 for 8GB and $100 for 16GB. Not bad at all.

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Zune HD preview reveals “Apps” menu but no apps

By on August 24, 2009 at 4:05 AM.

Zune HD preview reveals “Apps” menu but no apps

As it turns out, this weekend’s rumored Zune HD preview at Best Buy was the real deal. Tens or even dozens of anxious soon-to-be Zune HD owners (we kid; we want it now) gathered to see the sexy new PMP first hand and one of them even managed to snap an extremely blurry shot of a curious menu item. Mmmm, “Apps”. The attendee tried to access the mysterious menu but lack of Wi-Fi rendered his attempts fruitless. Word on the street is that the Apps menu will be home to various games at launch but we’re still not sure what else will find its way there — certainly something however, lest the menu heading read “Games”. Also of note, one preview attendee claims that the host of this event confirmed the existence of a Zune SDK. This is definitely rumor status right now but it would certainly go a long way to support the inevitable arrival of a Zune app store of sorts.

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Microsoft Zune HD now available for pre-order

By on August 13, 2009 at 9:44 AM.

Microsoft Zune HD now available for pre-order

As if anyone had doubts surrounding the legitimacy of yesterday’s Zune HD leak, today Microsoft confirmed availability for September 15th and let it be known that pre-orders for the black 16GB and platinum 32GB models are now being filled through Zune.net, Microsoft, Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart. In case you’re waiting on the other five colors that the Tegra-powered portable will be available in at launch, you’ll just have to sit tight for now. Don’t cry though — maybe we can cheer you up by letting you know that pricing is now 100 percent confirmed: $219.99 for the 16GB model and $289.99 for the 32GB model. We’ll take six of each, thank you.

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Zune HD pre-order page appears on Amazon.com; 16GB priced at $220, 32GB at $290

By on August 11, 2009 at 10:41 AM.

Zune HD pre-order page appears on Amazon.com; 16GB priced at $220, 32GB at $290

We wouldn’t go as far as to call Microsoft’s upcoming Zune refresh a PMP hail mary, but it’s pretty clear that a lot is riding on Redmond’s upcoming players. So far we really like what we’ve seen of the Zune HD — and that statement is now expanded to include pricing. Last night some Best Buy inventory screen caps revealed the Zune HD’s price points and as of this morning we can consider them confirmed thanks to Amazon. App Store aside, we’re looking at a device far more capable and exciting compared to Apple’s iPod touch, and according to Amazon’s pre-order page, the 16GB will launch at $219.99 (compared to $299 for the 16GB iPod touch) and the 32GB model will hit the streets at $289.99 (compared to $399 for the 32GB iPod touch). Yeah, that’s no typo — you’ll be able to get a 32GB Zune HD for $9.01 less than a 16GB iPod touch. The Best Buy screenshots also add weight to the previously rumored September 8th launch date so it looks like we’ve got less than a month until lift off. The only question is whether or not Apple’s impending iPod touch refresh will tout enough bells and whistles at launch to overshadow Microsoft’s new gem. Hit the jump for the Best Buy images.

More →

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Zune HD to drop September 8th, 16GB and 32GB sizes?

By on June 25, 2009 at 7:44 AM.

Zune HD to drop September 8th, 16GB and 32GB sizes?

Perhaps the current crop of personal media players on the market just isn’t doing anything for you. It’s perfectly understandable of course, what with modern mobile phones catching up to dedicated players more and more each day. This very fact is the reason that Microsoft’s upcoming Zune HD continues to pique our interest. 3.3-inch 480 x 272 OLED capacitive touchscreen display, built-in HD Radio receiver, HD output (requires an optional dock), Wi-Fi, integrated web browser, multitouch support and Xbox LIVE integration… And of course we recently learned this little spitfire will pack NVIDIA’s Tegra processor at its core. According to a Gizmodo tipster, it looks like Microsoft plans to offer this peppy PMP in 16GB and 32GB varieties — fair enough — and it may be shooting for a September 8th launch. It’s as good a date as any we suppose, and leaves plenty of time to get early adopters on board before a nice little price drop/sale in time for the holidays. Why not?

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COWON S9 32GB now available from Amazon

By on May 3, 2009 at 2:20 PM.

COWON S9 32GB now available from Amazon

We were filled with envy when COWON announced that its higher capacity S9 would grace South Korea’s gadget freaks, but it looks like it’s finally going to be our turn. Better yet, the bump to 32GB only sets you back $299 compared to $239 for the 16GB version. There is really no complaining with this one because we were practically gleaming with our review unit. Audio quality from the S9 is tops and the AMOLED screen just pops. As you can see, the COWON S9 is being shipped and sold from JetAudio, Inc. and while the actual JetAudio site shows 16GB as the largest capacity S9 you can get, we’re not going to argue with what’s shown on sale through Amazon. Grab one while you can because these units are just so PMP.

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Zune HD specs reportedly confirmed; missing killer features

By on April 16, 2009 at 5:02 PM.

Zune HD specs reportedly confirmed; missing killer features

We have to admit it… We’re a little afraid. Afraid of what you might ask? Afraid that all this hype surrounding the now-reportedly confirmed Zune HD is going to be the height of excitement with regards to the device. Hype is good, hype is great, but you need something special to follow the hype in order for it to stick. Let’s take a look at the known specs:

  • ~3.6-inch OLED full touchscreen
  • NVIDIA Tegra powered
  • 4GB, 8GB, 16GB and 32GB versions
  • HDMI Connection to stream straight to your TV
  • HD Radio
  • Web browser
  • Wi-Fi compatible, with wireless marketplace
  • Released, early fall
  • International release of the Zune device itself
  • Home AV packs, Car packs, Charge packs

Sounds good and fun, but there’s definitely nothing so far that would (or should) draw much attention. HD radio? Mmm hmm. The Zune platform is supposedly in the midst of an overhaul which is nice but we need a wow-factor here. The average consumer is most definitely not going to pass on an iPod Touch and scoop up a Zune HD because of a high resolution display and HD radio, that’s for sure. Long story short, we hope Microsoft learned something from its experiences with the current Zune model.

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COWON coughs up 32GB version of the S9

By on April 15, 2009 at 5:16 PM.

COWON coughs up 32GB version of the S9

Back in December, we gave the COWON S9 our hands on review treatment shortly after its release here in the US and to paraphrase, we liked it. A lot. As far as audio quality, battery life and affordability we still haven’t found a competitive offering that can top it. One area where the S9 has been limited however, is storage. Apparently COWON got the hints as the company has just announced the availability of a new 32GB model in Korea. What’s more, the new bigger build rings up at 379,000KOR (US$286) — a substantial $113 less than the 32GB iPod Touch which, in our opinion, can’t even come close to touching the S9 where sound quality is concerned. We’re hoping the new S9 model makes its way over to the states ASAP at a similar price point because our smaller version is pretty full right now. As an aside for those of you who currently own an S9, COWON has pushed out version 2.2 of the firmware — be sure to download it and get your update on.

[Via PMP Today]

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Could the Zune HD be on its way soon?

By on April 11, 2009 at 12:30 PM.

Could the Zune HD be on its way soon?

Back in January after we learned that Zune sales and platform revenue was down $100 million under the previous quarter, we asked whether the Zune was ultimately doomed to die an unglamorous death or if Microsoft had an ace up its sleeve. Last night, Engadget posted some images that they feel, based upon some chitchat with sources, are of an upcoming touchscreen PMP known as the Zune HD. Because of the lack of anything other than a few promotional shots we’re going to have to resort to the age-old game of speculation when discussing the Zune HD, but if all of this turns out to be true we think it reasonable to expect that the Zune HD would ship with a display that approaches 720p and (based upon our measurement of the screen in the images) an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 — one of two standard aspect ratios used by mainstream films. But as we say so often in the tech blogging world, we shall see. Would a Zune HD have any chance of finding its way into your pocket or has the Zune ship already sailed for you?

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