Samsung's preemptive iPod-killers

Samsung's latest MP3 players deliver the features consumers want in a post-iPhone marketplace.

Photo of Samsung YP-P2 MP3 player.
The Samsung YP-P2 is a touch-screen video player that gets friendly with your cell phone over Bluetooth. Samsung

Samsung has just announced the release of their two most eagerly-awaited MP3 players of 2008, the YP-T10 and the YP-P2. While leaked photos of both players have been circulating this past week, few details have been announced until now. Both players are due out in September (no pricing details yet), and with the deafening buzz surrounding a possible new iPod announcement , the preemptive timing of these feature-packed players couldn't be better.

YP-P2

The Samsung YP-P2 is really the star of the show and looks like a well-executed answer to the shrieking demands for a phone-less iPhone. The 3-inch touch screen responds to gestures such as finger swipes and supports wide-screen 480x272 video resolution at a DVD-quality 30 frames per second using WMV9 or MPEG4 video formats. The P2 will be available in black, burgundy, and white, with either 4GB or 8GB capacities, and will support MP3, WMA, and subscription music playback. Unfortunately, it does not include a Flash memory expansion card slot. Samsung also throws in an FM tuner/recorder, a clock, a surprisingly usable text reader (see video), a voice recorder, and an image viewer. Battery life is expected to last a whopping 35 hours for music playback and 5 hours for video.

The crowning feature for both players, however, is Samsung's unprecedented Bluetooth 2.0 integration.

Bluetooth phone coupling

Both the YP-P2 and the Nano-esque YP-T10 share the ability to stream music to multiple receivers simultaneously over a wireless stereo Bluetooth 2.0 connection. While that feature alone puts these players ahead of the pack, Samsung takes the Bluetooth integration one step further by allowing users to couple the devices with most Bluetooth 2.0-enabled mobile phones. In this scenario, incoming phone calls will prompt an alert on the screen of the P2 or T10, pausing your music and offering the option of taking the call. When you accept the incoming call through the player, you can then hear the caller through your earbuds and also speak to the caller using the player's built-in microphone. A stereo Bluetooth headset can also be worked into the equation for both listening to music and taking calls wirelessly.

This integration opens up a lot of convenient possibilities for people juggling both their mobile phone and their MP3 player while exercising or driving. It remains to be seen whether call quality and reliability of the Bluetooth connection holds up, but with Samsung holding a solid share of the mobile phone market, our expectations are pretty high.

YP-T10

Photo of Samsung YP-T10 MP3 player.
The Samsung YP-T10 lets users personalize their menu interface with Flash animation skins. Samsung

Samsung's evolution of the highly rated YP-T9 looks to be a very fun Nano-like player that hopefully carries on the T9's reputation for excellent sound quality. The player will only be available with a 4GB capacity (again, no expansion port) in either black, white, or purple. The 2-inch QVGA screen supports 320x240 WMV9 or MPEG4 video playback and impressively includes most of the features found on the P2: FM radio/recorder; image viewer; voice recorder; clock; text reader; and support for MP3, WMA, and subscription music playback. Unlike the P2, the T10 uses an illuminated direction pad controller instead of touch-screen interface. To its credit, however, the T10's menu interface can be radically customized using downloadable Flash animation skins. Battery life for both the T10 is rated at 30 hours for music playback and 4 hours for video.

The video below walks through the touch-screen graphic user interface for the Samsung P2. Note the ability to use swiping gestures to skip between videos and movies, as well as the multiple eye-candy music visualizers. This really looks like one of the first post-iPhone MP3 players to step up to the challenge of creating a smart and richly designed, touch-screen user interface.

 

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