What’s the advantage of an Android music player?
On October 16th you’ll see the above-pictured device on store shelves. It looks like a normal Android smartphone, but it lacks one key element: a cellular radio. Instead, it’s a WiFi-based Android that essentially mimics Apple’s iPod Touch. It’ll come in two sizes: the four-inch screen will cost $229, while the five-inch screen will cost $269. Those are reasonable prices for devices that will carry no monthly service commitments. But I have to wonder if the Android platform is ready for this type of device. One reason the iPod continues to sell, even with the iPhone in play, is music management. Apple makes it easy to move items from your iTunes library to the iPod. True, Windows users have a tougher time with it; iTunes works considerably better on a Mac. The management system isn’t quite as clean with Google Music. It could be what holds back the device. On the other hand, if Google created its own simple music player — perhaps one that lays over iTunes, such as doubleTwist — they could create the necessary interface for a device like this. The one advantage it does have is the presence of a microSD slot. That can add 32GB to the existing 8GB of internal memory, giving you plenty of room for your music library. Apple has not, and will not, include microSD on its iPod and iPhone line, so this gives Android a definite leg up. And, because you can upload your entire music library to the cloud and then download the songs you want for offline play, you can potentially destroy the offline capacity of a similarly price iPod Touch. The Galaxy Player, particularly the five-inch model, actually brings up an interesting issue. What’s the difference, other than two extra inches of screen room, between this and a tablet? Is this an acceptable middle ground? I’m not sure myself. I think I’d rather have a tablet than a five-inch Android player. But this could definitely give manufacturers a sense of what the market bears.