Samsung Z5 takes on Apple's iPod in battle of MP3 players

In January, Samsung introduced its YP-Z5 flash-based MP3 player at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

In January, Samsung introduced its YP-Z5 flash-based MP3 player at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

In the news

In January, Samsung introduced its YP-Z5 flash-based MP3 player at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The audio player, which was to hit US stores March 5, has been launched to rival the iPod Nano. Samsung hired former Apple iPod designer Paul Mercer to design the software for the player in hopes of thwarting the iPod craze and taking over a significant portion of the Apple market.

Similar to the iPod, the Z5 will have its own subscription music service, PlaysForSure. Apple has received complaints from consumers because of the ease in which the Nano screen tends to scratch and even crack. Samsung claims the Z5 is scratch-proof, which could prove to be a big selling point over the Nano. The Z5 boasts an impressive 38-hour battery life, which trumps the Nano's 14-hour battery life.


Why does it matter?

Samsung faces an uphill battle in trying to prove it can outsell the iPod, given the iPod's success and the plethora of tie-in products the iPod offers.

"Apple looks almost invulnerable; it has built a solid infrastructure of accessories, it is the one who is the most visible in the media, its marketing program is second to none, it has become the product of the moment, and it would be very hard for someone to move against it," says Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. "Samsung has to position the product some way so that it looks better than the iPod."

But even if the Z5 is a great product, "Apple just doesn't seem to be vulnerable here," Enderle adds.

Five facts:

1 The Z5 has a 1.8-inch color LCD display with MP3 and WMA playback functions, as well as JPEG photo viewing capabilities. Unlike the latest iPod, no video is available.

2 Samsung's Z5 is offered in 2GB and 4GB capacities priced at $199 and $249, respectively. It is available in silver and black.

3 Microsoft's Bill Gates recently told high school students in Seattle that Microsoft was working with its hardware partners to produce a competitor to the iPod, but no details were given. Microsoft-compatible players command about 20 percent of the digital music market share.

4 On February 22, Apple iTunes hit the 1 billionth song mark. Alex Ostrovsky of West Bloomfield, MI, downloaded the song Speed of Sound by Coldplay to become the winner. Ostrovsky received 10 60GB iPods, an iMac computer, and $10,000 worth of iTunes music.

5 Samsung also produces a smaller MP3 player it put out as competition for the iPod Shuffle. The 512MB Samsung YP-T7 has a 1.12-inch LCD screen with FM tuner capabilities.


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