This week Apple announced that it has sold 100 million iPod Touch units since 2007 – keep in mind that this is not a statistic for all iPod devices, but all iPod Touch units. This is obviously a massive milestone for Apple, but it also brings up the question, why hasn’t an Android manufacturer built a legitimate iPod Touch competitor?
As far as Android is concerned, there have been very little competitors to the iPod Touch. Samsung, for all its success in the smartphone market, dabbled half heartedly into the iPod Touch’s domain, but with horrible specs and outdated software, its Galaxy Player models were never going to compete with the iPod Touch, especially after Apple brought out the fifth-generation iPod Touch.
An unsuccessful attempt from Samsung, the Galaxy Player 5.8 was an oddity.
There haven’t been a lot of other competitors willing to tip their hats into the ring, and attempt to take on Apple. The only other OEM worth mentioning is Sony, which tried to use the Walkman brand name to leverage its very unsuccessful attempt at an “Android media player”.
So you’re probably thinking that with all the history going against them, why would any OEM be interested? Well it’s something called brand recognition. The iPod Touch market is mostly targeted at children and teens, so if you captivate the younger market, they are more likely to be inclined to buy your smartphone when the time comes.
No doubt tablets have affected the sales of the iPod Touch, but it is still going strong, thanks to its lightweight, slim and small design, which gives it the advantage that no tablet can provide, it is uber-pocketable.
An iPod Touch is a device that is often given to a teen, as an inbetweener device, when they’re ready for their own handheld device, but not ready for a smartphone. So when you’ve already had a great experience with an iPod Touch, when the time comes, most teens will be looking at an iPhone to choose as their smartphone.
So why not just buy them a smartphone in the first place, you ask? Well it’s simple, at the price point these devices need to hit to be even remotely successful, the only smartphones you can buy (off contract that is) are cheap and horribly specced devices. The Nexus 4 is the cheapest high end smartphone and it still costs $300, and I’m thinking of a cheaper price for the device, much cheaper.
This should be considered as a “groomer” device, one that will give a teen a taste of Android, and of an OEM’s devices. The gadget would then move them on to other devices (or even services). Now that’s where Google comes in.
Google is all about the services it provides, so the younger the audience it can reach out to, the larger potential for growth in it’s customer base.
Picture this: a teen buys a Google made “Nexus Play” (that’s the name I’ve made up for it, not an official name), and starts using Google Drive for all of his or her school assignments, uses Google Plus as his or her social network to keep up with friends and also uses Play Music for all music listening needs. Soon the teen moves on to Gmail, an Android smartphone and all the other Google services that come with it.
This way Google gets to attract a market that it couldn’t normally target, and it also has the ability to offer a cheap and affordable device, with great specs and an up to date operating system. So who will make such a device? Well Google has Motorola now, doesn’t it?
Let’s skip the small talk, Motorola is in a rut, it’s losing money and market share, and it desperately needs to hit a homerun. Every manufacturer who has made a Nexus device has had its brand recognition improve dramatically, and since this isn’t a market that any of Google’s partners are interested in, Google using Motorola to manufacture a cheap, at cost Nexus Play, won’t anger the OEMs too much.
Google already has a great blueprint for the specifications of the “Nexus Play”. The Nexus 7 costs $199 for a 16GB model, and comes with heavy-hitting specs like a HD (1280 x 800) screen, a Quad-core Tegra 3 and 1GB of RAM. All Google needs to do is drop the screen size to a 4- to 4.3-inch screen, add a rear camera, swap out the Tegra 3 for a Snapdragon 400 and drop the price to say, $150 (You can go lower Google, surprise me!)
The Nexus 7 is the perfect base for the “Nexus Play”
A device with such specs is hardly anything to sneeze at (and its price is pretty good too). But in this market, hardware isn’t the only deciding factor. It’s time to talk about customization and accessorization.
It’s quite ironic that while Android is the most customizable mobile operating system and it also comes with great choices for hardware, the color choices for devices have long been limited to just black and white. If there’s one thing I admire about the Lumia line, it’s Nokia’s persistence on offering lots of color choices straight from day one.
With teens and children being the target audience, colors and customization become a much bigger deal than what they are on smartphones. No Google, a black Nexus Play, with a white (and still sort of black) Nexus Play released 6 months later is not the way to go. The key aspect here is colors, bright ones, and lots and lots of them.
The Galaxy S3 came in many color variations, eventually
It’s also worth noting that this device is going to need a pair of earphones (no skimping out on this either, Google!). It doesn’t matter how good they actually are, these days most kids have been fooled into believing Beats by Dre’s are the best quality headphones you can get. But for the sake of the product, and millions of parents’ ears (you can only listen to Gangam style a finite amount of times), a pair of earbuds should be included.
Cases are also a big thing for kids, even though third party manufacturers tend to satisfy this market well. Parents are going to be on the look out for a case that can protect their child’s device straight from the get-go. It also allows Google to make some money back when selling its devices at break even prices.
Finally, we need a 32GB version, not in two months time, but at launch. Since this is a Wi-Fi-only device, people will want to stick most, if not all of their stuff on the device, so a 32GB version will be needed.
A Motorola-made Google device competing against the iPod Touch might seem like a ludicrous idea at first, but if Google is able to undercut the iPod Touch and give it the specs listed above, it will finally allow Google to cover all the bases of mobile.
Not many other manufacturers can undercut Google, and those that can probably wouldn’t be interested in the first place, that’s why a Nexus Play is the perfect device for aspiring Android phone owners and even people who just want a non-cellular Android device that fits in their pockets.
Would you be interested in getting an Android competitor to the iPod Touch for your son, daughter, niece, nephew? Maybe even one for yourself?
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If Google really makes one, I’ll be one of the first few people to line up for it!
Google should make one with Samsung. Add to it Samsung’s advertising powers and we have an iPod Touch competitor.
Stop with the Samsung crap. Everywhere I go, I see Samsung fanboys. I mean, I love Android but Samsung’s hardware doesn’t do justice to the intuitive OS. The build quality of all the Samsung devices sucks through the rooftop. I would personally prefer the iPod if I had to choose between that and some cheap plastic-y PMP manufactured by Samsung.
I’m not a Samsung fanboy but I, 50+ million S3 users and 10+ million S4 users agree that Samsung provides one of the best hardware internals. And build quality is subjective. I personally don’t like sharp edged glass or aluminium, I prefer Nokia type PolyCarbonate.
how many galaxy player users agree? Another thing is that people get ipod touches as carry alongs to their android devices, to get access to the iOS app library (still superior) and as an ipod. They (especially since they aren’t rocking a LTE radio) also have excellent battery life.
Lots of people stand in line at McDonalds as well, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best food. Samsung is good at what they do. They spend a lot of money on Marketing, just like Verizon does. Does that make them bad? Not necessarily. I myself, would love a competitor to the Touch, in the form of an HTC One, given how the software works on the One. But, too expensive of a device to make, so likely wouldn’t happen. HTC is already bleeding. But at this point, I’d just about take anything over Apple (just my biased opinion)
I wonder how much Samsung hardware is inside the iPod?
i wonder how many qualcomm s600/800 chips samsung will use instead of their own. Probably a fuck ton.
Yes but the vast majority of the GS4 is made by Samsung. How much of the iPhone is made by Apple? Remember, I said in that sentence not designed.
what, nand? Who cares, and why would they care? Does this stop you from buying from Sony, HTC, etc? Also, samsung should probably design their own processors, rather than relying solely on ARM; (like Qualcomm and apple actually do) Maybe then they wouldn’t need to buy a qualcomm LTE chipset to go with every one of their processors, and it would actually make sense to make all of their phones with their actual processors. kids.
Anirban cares about Samsung hardware. Yes, Samsung should design their own processors and use all it in all its phones and they are working hard towards that goal. My main point is the vast majority of a unit of GS4 is design & made by Samsung. Name me one other company, that makes their phones with their own actual processors?
food for thought: http://www.androidauthority.com/exynos-5-octa-samsung-socs-219832/
“The CPUs in the Exynos chips are based on the Cortex series, licensed directly from ARM. Samsung frequently includes Mali GPUs in Exynos chips, which are also licensed directly from ARM. In contrast, Samsung’s primary SoC competition comes from Qualcomm and Apple – both of whom merely license the ARM instruction sets for compatibility and then design their own CPU architecture. While Samsung’s relatively boilerplate designs have fared well – Exynos chips are consistently among top industry performers – there are increasing signs that, with the Exynos 5 Octa, the chip may not be all it’s cracked up to be.”
So really, Apple’s the only one that fit’s your description, sorry.
Sorry to burst your happiness – they design not manufacture. Just like the rest of the iPhone.
you miss my point on purpose, but it’s cool. Cheerleaders are bad.
What point did I miss? I didn’t miss anything on purpose, if you misinterpreted my comments i will explain them to you.
You mean Apple? Recently they only did that in the iPhone 5 as far as I know. The A6 chip is a dual core custom hand-laid designed architecture which is the reason its so power efficient as well as powerful in performance.
Abdul! Are you banned from Gsmarena?
Yes they banned my IP and since my IP is static I wont ever be able to comment now no matter how many accounts I try with :”( Maybe they banned me for my usage of foul language against that troll but well, I’m sorry and ready to apologize to them so they might un ban me but I cant contact them anyhow, though I mailed them the day I got banned, which probably got ignored by them or is still kept as unread in their inbox.
Still, I feel sad on not being allowed to comment on my favorite site which always had and still has a special place in my browser bookmarks.
Oh My Days, I feel very bad for you, there are plenty of people that swear on Gsmarena and they decide to ban you… I’m sure you’ll find another website you’ll love. Anyway, I’ll try and reply to the moderator the next time they comment on an article.
If you can get my message of apology across to any moderator in a direct reply to them, I’d be very grateful to you. I didn’t know people would miss me that much it was good to know that, on the positive part :D
A lot of people were wondering where you are – Ahmadovich, Rishi, Balthazar and lots more on an article about Samsung being the second biggest chip maker in the world, they wanted your insight. And don’t worry, I’ll keep an eye out for them on every article. :)
I miss that community too :’( And thanks allot buddy :D
The chips are licensed by ARM like the Cortex-A15 architecture. Its then Samsung’s job to mass produce them and tune them to their liking’s.
IT WILL SURELY FAIL. GOOGLE MUST FOCUS IN A DECENT PLAYSTORE FIRST BEFORE MAKING AN IPOD COMPETETOR. I REALLY HATE PLAYSTORE 90% OF THE APPS FOUND THERE IS USELESS.
I was just thinking about this last night. I love being connected,
but I have been liking cellular connectivity less and less — that is, I
do not want a 3G antenna sitting inside my mobile device of choice, if
that’s possible. My mind drifted to just buying an iPod touch all over
again, and I figured that was that. But this piece reminded me that an
Android-based alternative can indeed be a choice also. So I’m with you, buddy. Google, shut up and take my money!
It certainly is an interesting concept…
Spot on. Don’t see why it hasn’t happened yet. What a lost opportunity. Shame I had convince my gfs younger brother to move to android after being built into iOS from his iPod touch
I did buy a Samsung Galaxy WiFi (Player) 5.0 and it is great! I don’t know why Samsung didn’t advertise it better.
Same here. Specs are actually fine on it. Gingerbread is slowly becoming outdated, but it still absolutely gets the job done.
did i just read that?
you should get Galaxy Player 4 instead, or 4.2, those still use Wolfson DAC.
Galaxy Player 5 use Yamaha DAC chipset. not as good as Wolfson imho.
Although I still prefer SanDisk Sansa Clip+, it’s way lot cheaper & sounds better (at least for my ear). I heard they use excellent DAC chipset.
You should give it a try if you’re music enthusiast.
i’ve been looking for such a device for a particularly different reason… for development… the cheapest high-end device i can find for deving is the nexus 4 and though cheap… 300 bucks isn’t pennies… so a well priced android based media player such as described above would satisfy me and other holo-devs out there…
Yeah there’s also that side to the story as well, but since I was talking about iPod Touch competitors (and we all know the iPod touch is not a dev device) I didn’t mention it. Google make it happen!!!!
Cool. But yeah the Samsung Galaxy Player? yeah? you faking tech hound. Not everyone needs good specs on a MP3 player, if you need then you just buy a PHONE! And also ipod also has bad specs like all mp3 almost…. And i have seen one guy who uses the galaxy player alot.
I wont buy because i have a phone but thats cool about a google player mp3.
“Go buy a phone” you say..did you even read the article?
I’d buy one just for games and development. My nexus 4 is great but it is full. This would do everything really well
Sorry, but this is the most ridiculous article I’ve seen on this website!
Quite the contrary, young lady. The author is right on. His analysis is well thought. He just missed a slight argument, when the parents are the ones who makes decision instead of the kids. For example, if I am a parent using Android phone, an Android based MP3 Player would be a very natural choice.
And what if Your child wants an iPod touch ?
They are disowned. Next! I’m obviously joking, but as to what @PuzzledObserver:disqus mentioned, I’m the guy that friends and family go to for advice on the devices they buy, and when they ask me what to get their teen or child (as a stand-alone device, not a tablet), I always recommend the iPod Touch as it is best in class.
I’m not going to recommend a horrible Galaxy Player which will leave a sour taste in the kids mouth and turn them off of Android forever. No my friend, the brainwashing, I mean education, comes a little later :P
But don’t you think iPod-like devices are on the way out? My daughter had android phone since she was 6, and my nephews and nieces all have android phones, none of them eve had something like what you call inbetween device. The emerging teen generation may not be interested in this, I geta feeling you are talking about your own generation. By the time Google or Samsung could make a viable competitor to touch it may be outdated and of interest only to people around 20 upwards. Then the brand building effect will never occur. Google better cone up with the next generation gadget, I have no idea what that could be but I’m sure it’s much more interesting than ipod touch.
My thoughts exactly.
Not necessarily, Apple still sells 4.4 million iPod Touch devices every quarter, and the cheapest price for an iPod Touch is $220 (the 4th gen got axed last week), so obviously somebody is buying them. If Google hit a price point that was less than $150 then I’m sure it could entice a few people (the real goal is a $99 Android device with great specs).
A lot of children still rock an iPod Touch and I don’t know of any high end phones which sell for less than $150 off contract. The cheapest high-end smartphone is an 8GB Nexus 4 which is $300. So this device would cost at least half of the Nexus 4. I mentioned this all in the article by the way, and you’ll probably respond that they don’t need high end specs, but if I had a choice of a phone with a single (maybe dual) core chip, 512mb RAM, a pitiful screen and horrible build VS the one I mentioned in the article… well I know which one I would pick.
A device like this wouldn’t take too long to get up and running, after all they made the Nexus 7 in four months, so it could perhaps coincide with a Nexus phone refresh later this year, if Google got onto it right now.
(the real goal is a $99 Android device with great specs)
no it’s not. They’ve done that. They perform horribly, don’t get updates, and that’s directly because of the price.
If what you said were true, then archos would rule the world, instead of being mocked.
Key word in the line you quoted “great specs” the archos devices you speak of definitely don’t have great specs. And since the device i proposed is a nexus device, it will get updated.
yeah, and archos does the best they can under the monetary constraints they are put under. you seem to think someone could do it better. Without something like google mass subsidizing the device, which is bad for all OEMs, this cannot be done.
The hardware manufacturers need profit to survive. There is no quality $99 tablet.
Difference here is Google isn’t a hardware company (at least not predominantly) and can make it’s money back by other means. Plus the goal I speak of probably won’t happen this year, maybe in a year or 2.
Yeah, but that alienates other OEMs, and they can’t do that for everyone. If google subsidizes every single play store piece of hardware, not only does that get expensive, but it makes even making android hardware more expensive to compete in; in an already razor thin margin’s business.
Which means, less devices, with less marketing money behind them; which gives samsung and apple a massive lead in marketing, which; let’s face it; works.
But why not buy a budget Android phone and tell them to use it as a media player?
well your avatar looks ridiculous :P :D
It’s the best android related avatar I see here.
pretty sure “lil bit” was referring to “윌 스튜어트 •”
pretty sure u are blind
No actually I’m pretty sure I’m correct. Perhaps you should change your font so you can see what’s displayed on your screen.
protip: the indentation gives it away.
Have to agree. Google making a product in a dying market is a terrible idea.
Actually there are non-sim version of android. Samsung Galaxy Player and Sony Walkman. But the spec are very low compared to iPod and it stuck with Gingerbread.
Thank you for writing this article! I agree 100% with the strategy you talked about and how Google is missing the boat. I bought a Galaxy Player for my 11 year old daughter, because that is the only Android device available. I didn’t want her dealing with iTunes and Apple. Of course, all of her friends have iPods.
you should have just said “i don’t want her to deal with itunes and apple because i don’t like them, and i’m not interested in what’s actually best out there, or even best for her”
It’s true that I don’t like Apple and iTunes. I had an iPhone and an iPod, and hated the hassle and limitations with iTunes. But my post is not about a “best” product, it’s an ecosystem preference. Obviously, you’re in the Apple camp. My whole family is running Android devices. My point was, that if we have everything Google and Android, there is not much of a choice in product for someone not old enough to have a smartphone yet.
I use a GS3, and roll cm10.1 nighties (which have way better battery life than cm10.1 rc3 or 4) I do own an ipad mini, and several other iOS devices, and just think your comment is kinda insane. If me and my wife had a child yet, they would certainly get a non jailbroken iOS device. Easier to manage, maintain, with a much better selection of software, especially for children.
I just laugh at people when they say iOS devices are limited. I’ve done everything i do on my gs3 on my old iphone’s too. Start downloads, check on my sab, couchpotatoe, sickbeard, plex, vpn, vnc (except iteleport destroys all android vnc clients i’ve used, and i’ve them all in the play store.) ip camera servers, get notifications, play games, browse the web. Generally these are the same people who use their phone for nothing but facebook.
Lets hope that’s not going to be like the Zune HD XD
PS Zune HD : Microsoft ipod touch like with the Nvidia Tegra 1 ^^
Yea I still use my ZuneHD a lot.
I even have an original 30GB brick Zune haha.
Works fine for simply playing music.
I was going to say, Samsung did offer a competitive product but failed to advertise it. They really need to do a better job.
Also it was pretty expensive for such an outdated device.
It might not happen, but Google should make an iPod Touch competitor with many Android OEMs, like Sony for its waterproof and dust-proof equipment and its cameras, Samsung for its features and amazing ads, HTC for the full aluminium-body and BoomSound, Motorola for its amazing battery life and Google Nexus’ quick updates and Vanilla Android? It would be an amazing iPod competitor, but that might not happen…
That would be awesome. Boomsound would immediately make it worth looking into!
But the device would cost a fortune!
Man google can do better than that
after researching i concluded for $149 google can get these specs into it…
*A quad core snapdragon 600
*A display of the caliber of a nexus 4
*1.2/8 mp cameras with flash for main
*unfortunatly a samsung style plastic back
What about battery?
It would last a couple of days if not longer. I bought my kid, 13 years old, a prepaid Android phone, but I never kicked on the service. She just needed it to play music and take pics. It last days without needing to be charged. That constant network data is what causes the main battery drain, so with it off, she’s good.
Umm no iPod touches battery’s are pretty bad and this will likely have an equivlant battery to screen ratio but with a better processor so will most likely have a worse battery life. So I doubt you’ll get much more then a day
I don’t get why people buy the ipod touch when you can get the bigger capacity ipod classic. I mean honestly 8gb touch vs 160gb classic… Need I say more?
The iPod Touch does a lot more than the Classic. It has nearly all the capabilities of the iPhone (as well as access to all the apps in the store). The Classic while having a lot more space is quite limited in functionality.
maybe he’s wondering why they don’t put those (albeit) much more fragile micro hard drives into their ipod touches rather than just nand. I wish they would too. Hey look. There’s a way for other OEM’s to stand out.
I believe that if Google gets on it and the specs are superb quality and cheap, it can compete with apple, but it must be a nexus device so updates are easily available.
mmm no sorry…. i already have an s3 why will i want an extra device to act as a media player? even my old s1 works perfectly as media player. why bother in an extra device?
Fine dont buy it, know one cares.
ipod touch competitor is aimed at teen/preteen market who do not yet own a smartphone. Did you not read the article?
I’ve been wondering about this for awhile, and have been buying used Android phones to use as Wi-Fi only for a few years. I’d love to have an affordable option to buy a phone-sized device new. Get on it Google!
If you are going to spend $ 299.00 for an iPod 5…spend another $ 50 and buy a Nexus 4. It’s a beast of machine compared to the iPod 5.
You are getting it somewhat wrong here.. The question is why i would buy iPod touch when you can just add a sim card to it and buy a phone instead.. they only thing missing in ipod is the calling facility. Yea i agree price has to be correct but that you even find in the lower range of phones which are already available here in India and other nations.. What actually matters when buying a media player is not screen size or lots of features but the capability to have great music reproduction and an awesome UI. Mind you if the media player doesnt come with great sounding device then its total flop even if you give out free of cost to anyone
this is genius i think i’m going to email this link to google, the writer of this article has either worked for google in the past or should.
most people now carry smartphones and tablet and is increasing I don’t know what one should get portable media player like iPod…. we can consider 7inch android tablets as portable media player as well.
because listening to music on the phone the entire time drains the battery
imagine reaching office with 70 % battery in the morning
it shall be dead in the evening
carry a charger, and hook your mobile to a charging dock, that simply kills the whole idea of going mobile
I would buy a tiny Android media player: great for exercises and access to media apps, such Spotify, Google Music, Rdio, Pocketcasts, BeyondPod. And even GPS-based exercise apps (Endemond, Runkeeper, although offline).
I’ll take 3 please
on android devices
you can actually download third party equalizers and music players.
4 inch screen , qHD display.
dual core processor (mediatek makes some great ones)
and the only brand that can challenge it is sony
and push some sort of itunes integration(pull some strings Google, or Sony)
and make it look sexy (the live with walkman phone was sexy)
Agreed. 2 years ago I bought a Galaxy Player 4.0. It came with Android 2.3, and average specs. The problem is, there is still no truly updated model of this. I just recently installed a custom 4.2 ROM, and it feels like a brand new device. Samsung should really update the firmware on these, and release another one with better specs. I used to have an iPod Touch, and grew tired of it, and the SGP was the only suitable replacement on the market. But the default software is pretty crap nowadays.
NICE IDEA!! I´d actually buy that for 150 bucks!! :D
I ended up here looking for an Android version of the touch, so yes, I’d be buying one if there was one to be bought!
ipod=cheapest way to enter appstore
and even nexus have fragmentetion and I have a nexus 4
people want fun and if playstore clears up it’s bad apps it will be a competitive choice
Looking for a pocketable Android device for my 8 year old. She really wants an iPod Touch but I despise Apple and refuse to have any of their products in my house!