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MacRumors
Jan 5, 2004, 04:56 AM
The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/155236_msftnotebook05.html) on Microsoft's upcoming Portable Media Centers which will be showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show later this week.

The new platform enable devices which "will story and play back video, music and photos". Per Microsoft's M.O. (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=modus%20operandi), they will be licensing the platform to a number of consumer electronics manufacturers to create these Windows CE based devices.

Analysts expect pricing to range from $400-$700, which will bring it in line with current high-end iPods. According to the article, analysts are split on whether or not this will put a dent into iPods dominance.

Video-based iPods have been a source of considerable speculation since the initial iPod release. While Apple has given no public indication of such a direction for the iPod, at least one Apple Job Listings seems to suggest otherwise: Next Gen iPod (http://www.macrumors.com/pages/2003/12/20031219121836.shtml).

MacMarino
Jan 5, 2004, 05:11 AM
I think eventually Apple will release a portable video player but they will still keep the iPod as it is. There are some people that dont need all the things together (music/movies/photos) and there are those people that want it. So I guess the prices of the music only iPods will come down in proce alot and then the all in one will come out in the similar price bracket that the iPods are at now give or take some...


MacMarino

arn
Jan 5, 2004, 05:15 AM
not sure people want multi-capable devices.

I think there's something to be said about a device that does one thing primarily... and does it well.

arn

hvfsl
Jan 5, 2004, 05:23 AM
Originally posted by arn
not sure people want multi-capable devices.

I think there's something to be said about a device that does one thing primarily... and does it well.

arn

Exactl, that is what so many people I know have sid about the iPod. There are plently of iPod type devices out there that play music, video etc. But none of them have court on. I expect the M$ device to fall like all the other devices M$ has bought out recently (e.g. tablet PC, the Xbox would be a failure as well, if M$ didnt keep on wasting money on it).

desdomg
Jan 5, 2004, 06:06 AM
Yep, M$ just dont get it. It is the simplicity and power of the iPod that make it a success - not a bloated feature set.

To twist Steve's analogy a bit: the iPod is a listen to music with the device in your pocket experience, whereas a portable video viewing device is a sit down and look at a screen experience. For the screen experience to be viable you are looking at devices that are gonna be larger than a device you carry around in your shirt pocket.

MorganX
Jan 5, 2004, 06:37 AM
I think people do want devices capable of performing multiple tasks. i.e. Music, cell phone, PDA.

Just hasn't been done right yet, and it must be able to do all things that it does, well.

Smartphones are very close, unfortunately, the killer pda app I need isn't being ported to smartphones, and the PDA phone, is not too big, but I worry about the screen. I destroyed two Palms before giving up on them.

As usual, both camps are right and have good ideas. Lets see who can put it all together and deliver it to the masses. This one's even money...

CalfCanuck
Jan 5, 2004, 06:59 AM
Originally posted by arn
not sure people want multi-capable devices.

I think there's something to be said about a device that does one thing primarily... and does it well.

arn
One natural link is the exploding number of consumer digital cameras, where the users shoot so many pictures on a trip that they've filled up their flash ram storage. On the road this is a big problem, and most casual users haven't thought about it (aka - the ones who need to buy film at a tourist site).

I remember reading about an enterprising photocopy shop by the entrance to the Grand Canyon - they set out a big sign in front offering to burn your flash-ram jpegs onto a CD-R so you could delete the card and fill it up with new images, and were doing a brisk business.

For professional photographer who shoot a lot of images, this need to store images daily becomes part of their work flow and they have dedicated devices. I have an old iPod like storage device from 3 or 4 years ago, since gone out of business!

But for the majority of amateur camera users out there, a simple way to download 256 MB onto a mobile hard drive (for instance, an iPod!) would be a nice feature and selling point.

Belkin has a solution for the present iPod, but from what I've heard it's not that elegant (correct me if I'm wrong).

engelb15
Jan 5, 2004, 08:21 AM
I dont think the problem is demand, the problem is the DMCA...where would you get the video?

Currently it is illegal to convert your own DVD's and put them in another format, such as AVI, MPG, or MOV to play on a portable device like this.

the_mole1314
Jan 5, 2004, 09:23 AM
Originally posted by MacMarino
I think eventually Apple will release a portable video player but they will still keep the iPod as it is. There are some people that dont need all the things together (music/movies/photos) and there are those people that want it. So I guess the prices of the music only iPods will come down in proce alot and then the all in one will come out in the similar price bracket that the iPods are at now give or take some...


MacMarino

I really think that'll happen. There is a spot for a digital audio player, and a multi-functional video/audio player. Make the iPod cheap, make the ProPod (my name, I know it sucks) show videos.

freddiecable
Jan 5, 2004, 09:41 AM
agree - with the exception of a combined cell-phone/MP3player & PDA!...as with the SonyEricsson P900. But I'd like a P900 with the option of compact flash-media...which gives you the poss. to load +500 MB MP3s...I think Compact Flash has up to 4 GB-media...that would be perfect!

Originally posted by arn
not sure people want multi-capable devices.

I think there's something to be said about a device that does one thing primarily... and does it well.

arn

Photorun
Jan 5, 2004, 09:55 AM
A DLD that runs CE? Wow, imagine a world where your iPod would crash? And how are they programming the blue screen of death to look so small?

And I'm surprised Microsoft is copying something that's already out there, created huge by Apple, and trying to come up with their own (albeit s****y) device... that's so unlike M$, they usually are the innovators of the electronics world!

[cough]

MacSlut
Jan 5, 2004, 10:39 AM
Originally posted by engelb15
I dont think the problem is demand, the problem is the DMCA...where would you get the video?

Currently it is illegal to convert your own DVD's and put them in another format, such as AVI, MPG, or MOV to play on a portable device like this.

Think portable Tivo, and a place to view/offload your digital pictures.

neutrino23
Jan 5, 2004, 10:41 AM
I think they just want to be there at the start in case it turns into something. They don't want to miss the boat like they did with the iPod. I wonder if any marketing guys at Redmond got fired for that? It is not like m$ doesn't have the money to throw away on new projects like that.

The cost of this device is so high it is like that of a low end laptop. A 12" iBook can do the same thing. A Japanese sub-portable gets even closer (10" screen, 2 lbs.).

On the function side, it sounds cool but I doubt I would use it personally. I already have a 15" G4 PB I carry with me and I rarely use that for viewing videos. I'm either busy or if I want to watch I just find a TV. There are a couple bzillion TVs in this country. VHS and DVD players and rental shops are everywhere. Every hotel and bar has cable.

You can enjoy sound together with lots of activities. Video requires your full attention. We have had LCD portable TVs for years and they haven't become big. Some years ago Sony came out with video built into a head set for portable viewing. That never caught on either.

As for the amateur photographer, it would be cheaper to buy a 1GB CF card (recently around ($150). That should hold something like 500 pictures even on a 6MP camera and well over a thousand on a 3MP camera. Remember, most amateur cameras now cost under $500 and most cameras already let you view pictures on a built in LCD or you connect the camera to a TV.

I guess the point of all this is that having video on an iPod would be nice but I don't see the real need for it so I doubt people will pay much of a premium for it or go out of there way to get it.

Spock
Jan 5, 2004, 10:44 AM
Windows CE is like Windows XP clunky,Ugly and confusing. When I was PDA shopping a few weeks ago I was looking at a little "Palmtop" that ran Windows CE it was junk the Appications were buried into like three or four menus, it was slow and the device felt cheap. Apple has that one handed thing going on with the iPod, the scroll wheel is the coolest thing to ever grace the front of a portable device. I mean look at what you have to do to play a MP3 in the iPod and look what You have to do to play a MP3 on a WinCE device You have to convert it to WMA,transfer over USB, and the search for the media player and prey that Your stupid PC put it on the device the right way. I know carry a Palm Tungsten E and a iPod.

Hawthorne
Jan 5, 2004, 10:55 AM
A consumer media device from the companies that brought us the Itanium ("ummn, we'll have it working any day soon. Really.") and Microsoft Bob ( :cool: )? :D

It will make the tablet PC and Mira look like runaway success.

Face it: Microsoft has lost the initiative. They're scrambling to play catchup with all the bugs in their OS, much less come out with anything the customer actually wants or needs. While they're busy ironing out Longhorn ("ummn, we'll have it working any day soon. Really."), OS X will be adding feature after feature.

synergy
Jan 5, 2004, 10:56 AM
While I agree not everyone would want a video based iPod, how about an LCD screen which the iPod would mate with to allow you to view movies, pictures and what not. Sold as an add-on to the iPod for those who wanted it. Firewire does have the ability to transmit sound and video.

crees!
Jan 5, 2004, 12:06 PM
Originally posted by the_mole1314
I really think that'll happen. There is a spot for a digital audio player, and a multi-functional video/audio player. Make the iPod cheap, make the ProPod (my name, I know it sucks) show videos.

You know I was just thinking of the same thing. With harddrives physical sizes getting smaller and their capacity larger this would be perfect as the "mini-pod" would be the replacement for the currently iPod. It would be the "low-end" music player. Then there would be your "proPod" that would do it all, music, photos, and possibly movies... though we all know how big movies are on DVD. I single movie can be anywhere from 4 to 9 GB's so the future harddrives will have to be huge if you want to store just a few movies. Though i think a few movies would be all you need. Are you honestly going to be walking around all day watching movies on that tiny screen? Well, for some of you the answer will probably be yes. :)

Wendy_Rebecca
Jan 5, 2004, 12:19 PM
Originally posted by CalfCanuck

Belkin has a solution for the present iPod, but from what I've heard it's not that elegant (correct me if I'm wrong).

You're wrong.

I used the Belkin solution during a recent family vacation, and transfered nearly 900 photos from my Compact Flash card to the iPod for easy uploading when I got home.

The only problem I found was that the Belkin box ate batteries at an astonishing rate. If I left them in while not using the unit, they were usually dead the next day. Removing them each time solved that particular problem.

Other than that, though...clear sailing. The best 99 bucks I ever spent, and it makes the iPod truly indespensible.

desdomg
Jan 5, 2004, 12:23 PM
I wouldnt want to watch a video on anything smaller than a 12" LCD and I dont think many other people would either. Try fitting that in your pocket! iPods can already store videos and transfer them from one Mac to another. I think if you are looking at playback it should be on an external display, and if you are gonna hook it up to an external display chances are you are on or near some kind of network. The network will deliver content far better in future. Video iPod wont happen IMHO. We already have those mini-DVD players with the tiny screens and nobody uses them. They are a joke.

Spades
Jan 5, 2004, 12:33 PM
That doesn't apply if you have a legal decrypter, right? Such as the kind Apple needs in order for DVD Player to work. If a company such as Apple made a program to do the conversion, I think it would be legal.

Assuming the license for the decryption key doesn't prohibit making such software.

Originally posted by engelb15
I dont think the problem is demand, the problem is the DMCA...where would you get the video?

Currently it is illegal to convert your own DVD's and put them in another format, such as AVI, MPG, or MOV to play on a portable device like this.

edgar_is_good
Jan 5, 2004, 12:47 PM
Originally posted by MorganX
I think people do want devices capable of performing multiple tasks. i.e. Music, cell phone, PDA.

Just hasn't been done right yet, and it must be able to do all things that it does, well.


The problem is that at this point, size matters a great deal, and anything that does video and audio well, could do audio just as well smaller.

Phones you can just add features to, without changing their form factor significantly.

I think the current ipod is as small as you can do complete music catalogs. Eventually, as HD's improve, a mini-ipod would have the same capabilities as todays ipod, and then todays ipod could morph into something grander. But I think there will be a market for audio-only devices at least until the holographic projection technology is fully developed, which is, oh, at least 9 mos out.

elgruga
Jan 5, 2004, 12:53 PM
Where are all the Tablet PC's?

And all the other STUPID, bandwagon attempts that those suits at M$ have tried?

Arn is right. There really is no desire to bundle a bunch of stuff in one box for 99% of people. Who wants to listen to mp3's on a phone?
Who wants to watch DVD's on 2inch screen? Not me.

I'm in the garden, fixing the fence - I dont want to be 'connected' - get a life, M$ designers.

Someone mentioned ability to transfer phtots because on a trip you might take so many that your camera was overloaded. So take your laptop, or buy another memory card.
If you are a professional photograher, you already have this problem sorted out, believe me.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! drives me nuts all this stupid devices that will do everything - it aint gonna happen, folks.

I hear M$ is planning a device that cooks dinner, answers the phone, does the washing up, weighs 25 grams and plays DVD's too.

the_mole1314
Jan 5, 2004, 01:01 PM
As others have said, the big thing inhibiting the sucess of one of those machines is a legal way to copy DVDs to them. Lets also not forget the magic battery problem. If the iPod only spins it hard drive every 10-20 minutes, imagine what would happen if it had to constantly!

Also, unless a magic screen inlarging display was created, most people won't want to watch DVDs on them, or even TV shows. The last problem is the form. Everybody loves lounging watching TV or movies. What happens if you want to just lounge with one of those devices? You'll have to hold it! Unless it uses a clam shell design like the GBA SP, I think any 'stands' they create would be flimsy and not good for plane trips.

I can only see the ProPod working if it allows for the reading of newspapers, daily news reports, TV shows, and other features that could come for iMedia, or some other Apple iApp that'll contact you to a source to buy copyrighted material in word and video form.

Another big feature is that of a high-tech remote. The ProPod would be able to run a smaller version of Keynote, so all your notes, buttons, and other things would be on the Pod, and your presentation would be on the big screen via the ProPod or over a laptop or computer.

Simply, when people go out to ride in the car, ride on the bus, or other things, they want to listen to music. They don't want to be focused on just the TV or a movie. They could miss a bus stop, they could be distracted. Simply put, any media device like a ProPod must have practical features like Keynote and others in order to serve a practical use and to go beyond just a novelty gadget.

CalfCanuck
Jan 5, 2004, 01:24 PM
Originally posted by elgruga
Someone mentioned ability to transfer phtots because on a trip you might take so many that your camera was overloaded. So take your laptop, or buy another memory card.
If you are a professional photograher, you already have this problem sorted out, believe me.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! drives me nuts all this stupid devices that will do everything - it aint gonna happen, folks.

I hear M$ is planning a device that cooks dinner, answers the phone, does the washing up, weighs 25 grams and plays DVD's too.
Take a couple of Valiums and chill out :cool:

Just because all the devices and interfaces up till now have been crap, that doesn't mean that there won't be any in the future. True, it seems that R&D of this sort is driven by the engineers who produce useless remotes with 100 buttons.

But devices with complex needs can still have elegant and intuitive interfaces. I often use the example of the most complex device most people own, a car.

We sit a couple of feet from a controlled explosion (in a 3000 lb moveable casket) with thousands of complex, mission-critical moving parts. Yet we can fly around the world, pick up a car we've never driven in a country where we don't speak the langauge, and after checking for 30 seconds (where are the lights, the turn signal, the emergency break, the gear shift, etc) drive it away.

So back to digital devices. They just store 0's and 1's, and then do something with them (different things depending on what the digits represent). So in the case of an iPod, which is a mass storage device, why the heck shouldn't it be available for a number of tasks? It sure as hell will be in 50 years.

The idea that you shouldn't be allowed to toss a book into a computer case is ludicrous, yet you're telling me I shouldn't use the iPod in my pocket in a simliar way, just because you can't envision it?

yahtzeen
Jan 5, 2004, 01:27 PM
i don't see the need for a portable video device, as plenty of previous posters have already pointed out as well. yay, i can watch my high-def, letterboxed movie on a 3" screen!!!

what the heck do i need a portable TiVo for? so instead of watching on my huge tv on my comfortable couch i can drag them with me to the bar and watch from a bar stool?

Why put 10 DVD's on a portable device to bring somewhere when you can just bring the DVD's?

People listen to music differently then they watch tv and movies...i never see a huge market for a portable video device.

i have a tivo, i watch tons of movies...i can never see myself (or anybody) needing one of these.

Snowy_River
Jan 5, 2004, 02:17 PM
Originally posted by crees!
single movie can be anywhere from 4 to 9 GB's so the future harddrives will have to be huge if you want to store just a few movies...

Well, that's not taking any compression into account. Whole movies can be compressed and stored on CDs, hence VCDs. So, while a single uncompressed movie may well fill up a 5GB iPod, the same iPod could hold up to a dozen compressed movies. Now, of course, the greater the compression the poorer the image quality, but if the movie's being viewed on a small LCD, a fair amount of loss of image quality wouldn't be very noticeable.

yahtzeen
Jan 5, 2004, 02:24 PM
originally posted by Snowy_River
So, while a single uncompressed movie may well fill up a 5GB iPod, the same iPod could hold up to a dozen compressed movies. Now, of course, the greater the compression the poorer the image quality, but if the movie's being viewed on a small LCD, a fair amount of loss of image quality wouldn't be very noticeable.


1. why would i want 12 compressed movies on my iPod?

2. why would i want to watch it on a small LCD to compensate for loss of image quality? it seems so many people are currently complaining about the quality of music, aren't they even going to be more demanding of video quality?

Personally i take the trade-off of convenience over quality with my music, but when people are spending thousands of dollars on their home theater systems i doubt that they are going to be satisfied with any image loss.

crees!
Jan 5, 2004, 02:26 PM
Originally posted by Snowy_River
Well, that's not taking any compression into account. Whole movies can be compressed and stored on CDs, hence VCDs. So, while a single uncompressed movie may well fill up a 5GB iPod, the same iPod could hold up to a dozen compressed movies. Now, of course, the greater the compression the poorer the image quality, but if the movie's being viewed on a small LCD, a fair amount of loss of image quality wouldn't be very noticeable.

Very true but if you're the picky type like me and notice all the little details then you would want full quality. I guess it's just a matter of preference.

pkscout
Jan 5, 2004, 02:33 PM
I love that the press says that at $400 - $700 the units will be "in line" with the iPod in terms of cost. The most expensive iPod is $500. If Apple released something that started just below the most expensive piece of equipment from the competition and ended at 50% higher than anything available they would say Apple had once again priced themselves out of the market. :p

engelb15
Jan 5, 2004, 03:01 PM
Software to decrypt a DVD has not yet proven to be legal in the eyes of the DMCA. The makers of DVDXCopy are in the middle of a suit now.

Originally posted by Spades
That doesn't apply if you have a legal decrypter, right? Such as the kind Apple needs in order for DVD Player to work. If a company such as Apple made a program to do the conversion, I think it would be legal.

Assuming the license for the decryption key doesn't prohibit making such software.

iMook
Jan 5, 2004, 04:18 PM
To those of you who don't see yourselves using a PVP and are consequently bashing Microsoft (or "M$" by some) for it...

Hey, wake up. The world doesn't revolve around you. Maybe some people out there might actually want things you don't like. Is that so ridiculously difficult to fathom? Seriously, people. "I don't want a PVP because I lie watching movies on big screens." ... "Those portable DVD players are utterly useless."

Oh yes, this is precisely why companies are still churning out new portable DVD players, and other companies are churning out PVPs. Portable DVD players have endured precisely because no one (meaning "not you") will ever want them. Such great logic there.

Also, to those who think CE is the end-all for Windows-based handhelds (and thus bash it to oblivion). Have you ever heard of Pocket PC 2003? Smartphone 2003? No? Google them, and actually look for things that might not put Microsoft in the bad light you want it in. Really. You'll learn a bit more if only you became more open-minded.

Cheers.

Flowbee
Jan 5, 2004, 04:25 PM
Originally posted by iMook
Oh yes, this is precisely why companies are still churning out new portable DVD players, and other companies are churning out PVPs. Portable DVD players have endured precisely because no one (meaning "not you") will ever want them. Such great logic there.

When was the last time you saw anyone watching a movie on a portable DVD player? Yes, you can find 3 or 4 portable dvd players at your local Best Buy, but have you ever seen anyone buying one?

A very 'niche' product...

the_mole1314
Jan 5, 2004, 04:35 PM
Originally posted by iMook
To those of you who don't see yourselves using a PVP and are consequently bashing Microsoft (or "M$" by some) for it...

Hey, wake up. The world doesn't revolve around you. Maybe some people out there might actually want things you don't like. Is that so ridiculously difficult to fathom? Seriously, people. "I don't want a PVP because I lie watching movies on big screens." ... "Those portable DVD players are utterly useless."

Oh yes, this is precisely why companies are still churning out new portable DVD players, and other companies are churning out PVPs. Portable DVD players have endured precisely because no one (meaning "not you") will ever want them. Such great logic there.

Also, to those who think CE is the end-all for Windows-based handhelds (and thus bash it to oblivion). Have you ever heard of Pocket PC 2003? Smartphone 2003? No? Google them, and actually look for things that might not put Microsoft in the bad light you want it in. Really. You'll learn a bit more if only you became more open-minded.

Cheers.

History shows people want passive entertainment while on the move. They want music. That's why the Walkman suceded and all those handheld TVs failed/didn't do well. The amount sold to those jogging, in their cars, walking, on busses, and waiting in line, will be none to a little. I can see the device mabey working as aids for tours and short plane flights, untill I see a market that needs this device, I won't think this thing will fly. This is a company inventing something that the market dosn't need or want.

yahtzeen
Jan 5, 2004, 05:01 PM
originally posted by iMook
Hey, wake up. The world doesn't revolve around you. Maybe some people out there might actually want things you don't like. Is that so ridiculously difficult to fathom? Seriously, people. "I don't want a PVP because I lie watching movies on big screens." ... "Those portable DVD players are utterly useless."

I wasn't trying to suggest nobody would want these, i'm sure there are a few people that would like one and i'm totally open to hearing some reasons why people would want them. I just don't think that there will be a huge market for these.

There doesn't seem to be a compelling reason to make a portable video player capable of holding hours and hours of video. There are endless uses for lugging a lot of music around with you, like somebody said music listening is passive. Watching video requires you to pay attention.

I'm open to ideas and would love to hear them, it's very possible I'm just missing something here.

Spades
Jan 6, 2004, 08:51 AM
Software to decrypt a DVD is legal if it has been licensed. Data from a DVD must be decrypted if you want to play it. Companies that make DVD playback programs license the decryption software (or the key, I'm not sure which), which makes their software legal. Technically, there is little difference between outputing to the harddrive and outputing to the screen. The only question is whether the license that makes the decryption legal prevents outputing the data to the harddrive.

Originally posted by engelb15
Software to decrypt a DVD has not yet proven to be legal in the eyes of the DMCA. The makers of DVDXCopy are in the middle of a suit now.

wombat2
Jan 12, 2004, 02:31 AM
I think the MS multimedia handheld device (not sure what to call it) looks interesting. Will I buy one? I dunno. It depends how clever it is at integrating with my other stuff.

If I could use it as a portable DVR, hook it to my cable box and record shows, then hook it to my dad's TV when I'm visiting to watch shows on his screen, that's pretty cool.

If I can view jpegs and AVIs on a 640x480 or better screen, instead of on my Canon digicam's 2" screen, that's pretty cool.

If I can use it to move files around between my camera, phone, PDA and laptop - IR port, CF and SD slots - that's a nice bonus.

Depending on the hard drive size, it could also be a very capable mp3 player ... though I don't see how present HD technology would let you fit lots of video and lots of mp3s on it at the same time. I also hope MS offers some kind of playlist manager instead of leaving it to the device manufacturers. Creative, in particular, is incompetent at making PC-side playlist software.

I think that device size is going to be what determines success or failure. And I don't know what the size should be - but at some size, it'll be too small to have a big enough screen or a big cheap hard drive; at another size, it'll be too big to carry in a coat pocket. The MS guy at the presentation referred to the Creative Labs device he held as "pocket-sized". Yeah, cargo pants pockets, maybe.

To think that convergence isn't going to continue progressing is to be in absolute denial of reality. As for all of the bashing - I own a P4 2.8 GHz running WinXP Pro SP1. Sitting two feet from it is a Mac G4 running OS X 10.3. I like them both, for different things. But I prefer the WinXP user interface. I use the Mac primarily as a server. This idea that everything MS does is hard to use and ugly is, I think, either an affectation, or is based on using Windows for only a few minutes at a time and feeling like a fish out of water.

jeffgarden
Jan 21, 2004, 07:00 PM
it's not that you'll be storing movies on the ipod-like device to watch on a small screen.

you could do that if you want to, but you'd be able to hook it up to your tv also. so you can carry around most or all of your movie collection all on a small device and not on a ton of dvd's. sorta like the idea with the ipod.

you can take your movies to other places and watch them just by plugging in to tv's. or if you're on a plane or something you can watch them directly on the device.

wombat2
Jan 21, 2004, 07:59 PM
I'm a little confused what differentiates that product from what's already on the market. Since I posted earlier, I have looked into this, and noticed that there are already at least two similar items:

RCA Lyra. I think the model number is 2780. $500, plays videos and mp3s, displays photos, is about the size of many PDAs (5.2 inches by 3.14 inches by .98 inches), has RCA in/out, lots of other nice features. On the down side, battery life is atrocious - about four hours, and that's for playing mp3s! Also, many features are not enabled yet, or are buggy, due to RCA rushing it out in time for Christmas. Firmware updates are gradually fixing the bugs. There are some complains about inordinant pauses between mp3 tracks, and gray pixelation in video where the picture is supposed to be black. Finally, the hard drive is only 20 GB, which seems rather slim for video + mp3s + photos. Oh, almost forgot, MAJOR plus - it has a built-in CF slot. (Psst, add SD too!)

Archos AV320 (or 320AV?). Less buggy and better battery life, but bulkier and more expensive. If you truly want a portable video player, this is currently the way to go. If you want an mp3 player that can do more, the RCA WOULD be better, if battery life was passable and the other bugs were reduced.

What does the Creative device due this summer do that these guys don't already do?

I think the concept is great. I think that the reality of good implementations won't arrive until at least late this year. For this to really work, it'll have to be PDA-sized, with an 80GB or better HD, 10 hours of mp3 playback/5 hours of video playback, with few major bugs. They'll get there eventually, but for now, this is really a niche product for aficianados and junkies. From what I read, the RCA in particular is super-cool and oozes of potential, but has enough flaws to piss you off every day to the point where you spend more time stewing over its shortcomings than actually using the device.

JGowan
Jan 21, 2004, 08:07 PM
Originally posted by MacMarino I think eventually Apple will release a portable video player ... there are those people that want it.Apple is notorious for NOT LISTENING to the "wants" of people ... even a multitude of people. Consider:

1) a (freakin') two-button mouse
2) a PDA
3) a TiVo-like device
4) a tablet computer
5) TV integration

Sorry, MacMarino. But, the louder we sometimes beg for Apple to listen, we are not heard.

el gringo
Jan 22, 2004, 01:27 AM
I'd like to add - a "new" cube please :)

Originally posted by JGowan
Apple is notorious for NOT LISTENING to the "wants" of people ... even a multitude of people. Consider:

1) a (freakin') two-button mouse
2) a PDA
3) a TiVo-like device
4) a tablet computer
5) TV integration

Sorry, MacMarino. But, the louder we sometimes beg for Apple to listen, we are not heard.

dashiel
Jan 22, 2004, 01:51 AM
Originally posted by iMook
Also, to those who think CE is the end-all for Windows-based handhelds (and thus bash it to oblivion). Have you ever heard of Pocket PC 2003? Smartphone 2003? No? Google them, and actually look for things that might not put Microsoft in the bad light you want it in. Really. You'll learn a bit more if only you became more open-minded.

Cheers.

sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken... sorry just re-reading fight club and i couldn't resist.

but, pocket pc 2003 is nothing more than a particular build of windows ce, remember ce is a component based OS, so building a "new" os for a "new" type of device is just a matter of selecting the right components and extending the architecture where needed. ok well it's a little bit more complex than that, but you get the idea.

that's not an indictment or endorsement of winCE or PPC2003.

BurntCalc
Jan 22, 2004, 02:10 AM
The iPod dominance is being challenged only because someone finally proved there is REAL money to be made. The format it plays in is quite irrelevant. MS can have it, it doesn't matter.

What I'm concerned with is the fact that once someone copies Apple correctly (and it WILL happen), and makes a GUI that at least LOOKS cooler and more functional, then what of the iPod?

To illustrate, PALM PILOT has a simple navigation. Mostly efficient. We bemoan the WinCE stuff, but man if it doesn't look a lot cooler to Joe Average.

Who wins? Well, not Palm.

iPod will face the same hurdle. It will go the way of Palm Pilot unless Apple updates it drastically for no other reason than to keep it fresh in the minds of consumers.

McMike
Jan 22, 2004, 02:23 AM
Originally posted by JGowan
Apple is notorious for NOT LISTENING to the "wants" of people ... even a multitude of people. Consider:

1) a (freakin') two-button mouse
2) a PDA
3) a TiVo-like device
4) a tablet computer
5) TV integration

Sorry, MacMarino. But, the louder we sometimes beg for Apple to listen, we are not heard.

I can live without two buttons on my mouse, I don't need a TiVo, I don't need a tablet and I think my PB is enough TV integrated
BUT can anybody do me a favour and give me a PDA that after syncing with iCal doesn't alert me at 6 a.m. although in iCal it's set to 8?

wombat2
Jan 22, 2004, 03:31 AM
To illustrate, PALM PILOT has a simple navigation. Mostly efficient. We bemoan the WinCE stuff, but man if it doesn't look a lot cooler to Joe Average.

I've owned the following PDAs in the last year:

Palm Tungsten T
Palm Tungsten C
HP iPAQ 5455
Handspring Treo 300
Handspring Treo 600

I currently use the Treo 600, which runs PalmOS 5. I love it - my all-time favorite gadget.

However, it's not because it's PalmOS. It's because of the phone/PDA/online integration, and the thumbboard.

The best pure PDA I have owned is the iPAQ. Pocket Windows is easier to use and has more features than PalmOS. It requires more CPU and memory, but PPC devices are typically sold with more CPU and memory, so that's not much of a user issue.

The iPAQ ran full-blown DOS and could actually serve as a Web/ftp server, not that you'd want it to. There is even a photo editor available.

PPC may look cooler to "Joe Average", but that's not who buys them. PPC devices tend to cost more (due to higher overall specs) and are aimed more at business users and power users. PalmOS's only serious advantage is that it's cheaper, quite frankly. Both will do what you need, but PPC is more powerful and versatile (though at a cost of demanding higher specs to run well).

I often wonder when I read this forum whether people have even used the products they are bashing, other than playing with it for two minutes in Best Buy looking for reasons to dislike it.

VIREBEL661
Jan 22, 2004, 09:55 AM
OK - this'll never fly to me... I mean, who wants to watch videos on a mini little screen? This DOES work for games, however (GameBoy Advance, obviously).. I just think that to make it feasible, the price point is dangerously close to a laptop - with full blown capability, etc. windows CE is an utter joke. I could be wrong, but my understanding is that it's essentially windows 3.1 repackaged for portable devices... GREAT... Also - imagine the utter pain of getting video into this thing on a pc!

wombat2
Jan 22, 2004, 10:13 AM
I watch videos quite often on my Canon digicam's LCD, which is 1.8" or 2".

However, the point of the device is to be able to hook it into TVs and watch the videos on the TV screen. It's meant to be a portable Tivo-like device (plus photo slideshow and mp3 features).

Pocket Windows (why do you call it Windows CE? Is that supposed to be derogative? It's an incorrect useage, not a dis) has a feel sort of like Windows 95, sort of like Windows 3.1. It's not bad. Compared with PalmOS, for example - in Pocket Windows, you can use File Explorer to view files, change their names or delete them. In PalmOS, you need to use a third-party app, FileZ, to have some of that same functionality. As for whether it's "based" on Windows 3.1, I doubt it, although it probably shares some code so that programs will run properly without the OS getting too big for a handheld. Remember that this is a pocket-sized device, and it's not going to have an interface as good as a cutting edge desktop or laptop computer. I'd praise it equally if it was similar to MacOS 7. PalmOS is acceptable but is showing its limits big-time.

As for loading videos from a PC, I think the Lyra and Archos both show up as hard drives in File Explorer, so it would be a drag and drop operation. Of course, you have to get it into mpeg format or another recognized format first, which can be a hassle if your source is not digital.

whooleytoo
Jan 22, 2004, 10:38 AM
Originally posted by yahtzeen
I'm open to ideas and would love to hear them, it's very possible I'm just missing something here.

- Watching movies on a bus/car/plane journey.
- Watching ANYTHING while working out at the gym (a popular use of the iPod, and soooo boring! ;D )
- Being able to record and replay video from a DV camera, without filling the camera's capacity.
- Being able to carry photos and videos of your kids with you.
- Carrying recordings of your home video blunders to laugh about with your friends.
- Carrying clips of the highlights of last nights (favourite sport) game, so you can argue down in the pub about who scored, now with video evidence!

etc...etc.. Need more reasons? I have dozens.

MorganX
Jan 22, 2004, 10:55 AM
Originally posted by whooleytoo
- Watching movies on a bus/car/plane journey.
- Watching ANYTHING while working out at the gym (a popular use of the iPod, and soooo boring! ;D )
- Being able to record and replay video from a DV camera, without filling the camera's capacity.
- Being able to carry photos and videos of your kids with you.
- Carrying recordings of your home video blunders to laugh about with your friends.
- Carrying clips of the highlights of last nights (favourite sport) game, so you can argue down in the pub about who scored, now with video evidence!

etc...etc.. Need more reasons? I have dozens.

Don't forget listening to audio. Portable Media Centers are also high capacity jukeboxes.

Cinemanow.com has movies formatted for portable devices at 700k now. Taking a trip, rent a movie for $3.99 and take it.

Eventually, having a portable version on a DVD will be a special feature, maybe.

As the form factors get smaller, I expect high end audio-only players to quickly fade.