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    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    I am not trying to tell Samsung, Sony, and Creative how to run their business. However, as a fan and user of MP3 players over the years, I would like to say something about them naming their MP3 players.

    We are all waiting for that iPod killer. There is a reason why the iPod has been untouchable. First, it looks damn cool. It almost hurts because it is so easy to use. Then there's iTunes; putting it in another way, it's not Windows Media Player. Finally, it's called iPod.

    Yes. Plain and simple iPod. Four letters. Lower case "i", followed by a capital "p", lower case "o" and a lower case "d".

    It's not even called iPod MP3 player. Or iPod Media Player. Or iPod, now with Easy-To-Scratch Finishing. Just vanilla iPod.

    Apple calls it iPod. They have three models at any one time. iPod. iPod Nano. iPod Shuffle.

    Let's look at what Samsung has for MP3 players.

    According to the Samsung website, Samsung has some 19 models: YP-T6V, YP-T6X, YH-820, YP-W3LX, YH-J50, YP-F1Z, YP-C1X, YP-C1V, YP-C1Z, YP-F1X, YP-F1V, YP-T7V, YP-T7X, YP-T7Z, YP-U1Z, YP-U1X, YP-T8ZB, YP-T8QW, and last but not least, there's the YH-J70SB.

    In case you think I am making this up, go here.

    I don't know about you. But "YH-J70SB" just doesn't roll off the tongue like "iPod" does.

    Me: Hey! Is that an iPod you have there?
    Muthu: No. It's the Samsung YH-J70SB. How cool is that?

    Perhaps Samsung enjoys the marketing challenge in branding.

    Then we have the mother of all screw-ups and the former love of my life, Sony. The iPod should have easily been a Sony product. But they'd probably call it the Digital Walkman and they'd make us buy memory sticks.

    I was almost right. Today, it's called the Network Walkman. What the heck is a NETWORK WALKMAN? Entertainment for your network? Music for networks on the move? Anyway, Sony has about seven models of these things in a variety of colours: The new NW-A608 A-series, NW-E103, NW-E105, NW-E305 Walkman Bean MP3 Player, NW-E307 Walkman Bean MP3 Player, NW-E503/5/7 part of the E500 series and comes in Licorice Black, Tropical Ice Blue, Cotton Candy Pink, Coconut White, and finally we have the NW-HD3 and NW-HD5 Hard Disk MP3 Network Walkman.

    Me: Hey! Is that an iPod you have there?
    Greg: No. It's the Sony NW-A608. And it comes in Licorice Black, Tropical Ice Blue, Cotton Candy Pink and Coconut White. How cool is that?
    Me: Waaah. So cool. My iPod only comes in black or white. But I think they mean to say "Knight Rider Black" or "Clouds of Heaven White".

    Then there's the almost-there-but-not-quite, Creative. They got it right with the name by calling it Zen. However, it messed it up by making it look like the iPod; from the colour of the interface to where the battery indicator is...right down to the colour. It just yells "knock-off" and ends up looking like the poor man's iPod. But it costs about the same as the iPod. So, why would you want to buy a Zen when you can get the iPod?

    Me: Hey! Is that an iPod you have there?
    Ahmed: No. It's a Creative Zen.
    Me: It looks like an iPod. I thought it was an iPod.
    Ahmed: Yes. It does look like an iPod but it is not. I wanted to be different but yet the same. It's called Zen.
    Me: OK zen. I zhall zee you laterz.

    So, the moral of the story here is to not name the MP3 player as if it is a spare part for an airplane or a turbine engine. Move past the number and letter combo. If IKEA can do it, so can you.

    Secondly, do not make it look like an iPod. If I want the iPod, I will just buy the iPod since it is about the same price. Unless if yours looks as cool as the iPod, as easy to use, and it costs 50% less than the iPod, don't bother with the white or black iPod look.

    Finally, it is not the iPod alone that makes it work. It is also iTunes and their nice little touches like the cool white earphone and USB cable, and the word "Enjoy" on the inside box. Having said that, Apple should also make their iPods a little more scratch-resistant. I am tired of handling mine like it is a newly circumcised penis.


    Jimbo said...

    Hahhah, Genious!

    coppersnare said...

    The Vision M supports more video formats than the iPod Video. The screen is also supposedly better than iPod's. And the best parts: it has a radio tuner and the battery can be replaced. I'm thinking of buying one, but need to wait until the price drops down a bit. It's still too friggin expensive here.

    coppersnare said...

    Whoops, I made a mistake on the battery part. It's unfortunately not replaceable.