The outlook: The Ibiza Trainer is not the first MP3 player to include fitness-friendly extras such as a built-in heart rate monitor, a pedometer, and a calorie counter...and it won't be the last. But there are precious few of these devices sporting this many workout-worthy features, so we always welcome another one. Gym rats should be pleased.
Availability: Spring 2009
The outlook: The Memorex TouchMP isn't exactly an eagerly-awaited product, but we're excited to see a touch-screen MP3 player in the sub-$100 price bracket. The TouchMP will support MP3, WMA, and WAV audio playback and boasts a 2.8-inch QVGA display, FM radio, voice recorder, video player (WMV, MPEG-4, AVI in MP4 format), Audible audiobook and podcast support, and a microSD expansion slot.
Availability: April 2009
The outlook: Building on the success of the Samsung P2, the P3 adds refinements such as Haptic touch-screen feedback, a built-in speaker, aluminum construction, and an "EmoTure" graphic interface that emphasizes personalization. Existing features from the Samsung P2, such as stereo Bluetooth, wide-screen video formatting, FM radio, voice recording, and fantastic audio quality will also be included. Pricing and capacity should be competitive with the Apple iPod Touch.
Availability: April 2009
The outlook: The Sansa SlotRadio Player is unlike any other MP3 player, and it likely won't attract MP3 veterans. It's hard to say how this device will do on the market, but Top 40 radio fans will probably find some appeal; it's just like having a DJ select all your music for you.
Availability: Summer 2009
The outlook: The X-Series Walkman is Sony's first touch-screen MP3 player and it is poised to be a serious contender to the Apple iPod Touch. The device supports audio, video, photo, radio, and Wi-Fi Web-browsing capabilities. For the clincher, Sony is also throwing in active noise-canceling headphones to provide a pristine mobile listening experience.
Availability: Currently available.
The outlook: The Sony W-Series Walkman is an MP3 rolled into an (arguably) attractive pair of headphones. The premise alone fills a unique niche for active, budget-conscious users looking for a no-frills, no-cable design. The W-Series uses track control buttons built directly into the earpiece and a Zappin feature that lets you browse through tracks by playing a snippet of the chorus of each song. The W-Series supports MP3, AAC, and WMA files, and has a rated battery life of 12 hours.