Sunday, January 21, 2007

iPod integration

Half of 2007 vehicles to support iPod integration..
This is quite a substantial leap over the previous figure of just 12% in 2006. According to Playlist magazine, a full 50% of new 2007 vehicles will support iPod integration. That's almost as impressive as the iPod's 75% market share. Telematics Research Group says that iPod integration is "the most sought after feature", which I find hard to believe. After all, having airbags and air conditioning are pretty important too.

What's interesting is that cars that do offer iPod integration mention it just as thus, not marketing in such a way to show some love to other DAP makers on the market. Where's the affection for Creative? Sandisk? Samsung? And what about the newest kid on the block, Microsoft?

The iPod is not just a portable music player; it's what people use while at home (via the plethora of speaker docks), while on the road (with all these FM transmitters and "integration"), and even in the shower.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

The real iPod killer of-2007

We love MP3 players. And should Aladdin's genie choose to visit, we would be banking all three of our wishes on one. For a taste of what 2007 may bring, this is the MP3 player we want to break the bank on.

Presenting the Tomorrow MP3 player, using today's technology.

Ding! Ding!

2007 is the year that Samsung will topple the iPod, or so as the Korean chaebol has led us to believe. Creative now owns the patent for the iPod's menu interface and, while both the archrivals have made nice with each other, it is not unlikely the Singapore firm may still use its trump card to force more concessions from the Cupertino-based company.

The gargantuan of Redmond has also entered the MP3 player stakes with its new Zune. Though the Zune has not invoked as large a welcome as Microsoft may have hoped, the latter's sizeable coffers promise that the Zune will be throwing its weight around in 2007.

Hits and misses are prevalent in the MP3 world; in fact, more so the latter than anything else. But what if someone came up with an MP3 player that manages to incorporate all the hits of 2006 into one modish device? You can be sure we will be the first to put our money down for such a slice of MP3 heaven.

Feature one: Formats unite
Till now, there has been no MP3 player that incorporates all the audio and video content formats in one device. Look at the numbers out there. MP3, WMA, AAC, ATRAC, OGG Vorbis, FLAC and WAV are just the tip of the acoustic iceberg. So are WMA, MPEG-4, AVI, DivX and XviD for the video camp. And if you like to view pictures on your player, there're JPEG, TIFF and RAW as well.

We suspect it's the cost of paying out licenses for every format that is holding back the manufacturers. But our Tomorrow baby takes care of all that. And besides, it's supported formats are firmware updateable, so we would never have to transcode a single file ever again. It will be drop-and-play for the likes of us and not a moment too soon.

The Tomorrow will also run on a Linux-based operating system, and its architecture will be completely open source and even available on a Wiki. So application developers, it's time to do ya thingamajig.

design Closest player:

Creative Zen Vision W
Of all the players out there, it plays most of the available content formats.

Feature two: Better than Click Wheel control
Is that even possible? Ever since the iPod's emergence in 2001, only iriver's D-Click has come close to usurping the throne for intuitive use. But pssst--Nintendo's Wiimote has shown us that motion controls can be fun. In 2005, Samsung tried and failed with the YP-T8 which got addled each time we shook it around too much.

But the Tomorrow MP3 player has playback controls down pat. While it will still have a touchscreen for more complicated tweaks like audio settings and user-defined equalizers, a built-in gyroscopic motion control system can be activated for basic playback.

Tilt right, skip a track. Double shake it to pause and flip it to switch off. The Tomorrow-MP3-deprived may think you've got epilepsy, but that's the price to pay for geekdom. Love it more as the same gyroscope also doubles as a pedometer when you are out chasing after the bus.

design Closest player:

Sony NW-S203F
It may not have the tilt-functions we crave, but its built-in pedometer comes in a close second.

Bikini for your iPod

It may be cold outside but your iPod wants to put on it's Bikini Skin in Frost White, or maybe the Mango Orange number? With built-in clear screen protector, the Bikini Skin is made of tough, scratch-resistant polyurethene, which allows full access to all the controls and ports. Ships with removable neck lanyard and earbud cord takeup, and fits all iPod Nanos.

It's on sale for $17.95

Monday, December 25, 2006