CES 2006 Profile: Samsung (Portable Media)

Samsung’s CES 2006 announcements regarding portable entertainment focused devices were topped by news of their next generation XM/MP3 players. Also joining these players were some flash memory players, a portable media player and a MP3 player/digital camera hybrid.

Samsung’s new XM related MP3 players are the Helix (first quarter – $399.99) and Nexus (first quarter – $199.99 for 25 hours of XM playback and $249.99 for 50 hours). The Helix, which weighs around 4.5 ounces, sports a built-in satellite radio antenna, flash memory for storing MP3s and WMAs and the ability to listen to XM Satellite Radio live. It can also record XM for later offline listening. This feature is also shared by the two new Nexus players, though they lack a built-in satellite radio antenna like the Helix. All three players will be capable of allowing users to bookmark XM songs they hear for later purchase via the online XM + Napster music service.

Samsung’s newest flash memory player is the YP-Z5 (February – 2GB of storage for $199 & 4GB of storage for $249). Features on the YP-Z5 include a rechargeable battery which offers up to a full day of MP3 and WMA music playback, a 1.8” color LCD screen, support for protected WMA audio files downloaded from Microsoft’s PlaysForSure friendly services such as Napster to Go, an aluminum body, 3D sound technology, a touch pad and the ability to display JPEG photos.

Joining Samsung’s portable media players is the new YM-P1 (February – $399). Sporting a 20GB hard drive and the ability to allow for direct from TV recording by way of an A/V in connection, this player will allow users to view live and recorded television content with VGA resolution. It is compatible with a wide array of media file formats including WMA and WMV DRM10 (protected media files from services like CinemaNow and Napster to Go), MP3, WMA, OGG, AC3, MPEG4, DivX, Xvid, avi, WMV, JPG, BMP and text files. Other features include 16:9 aspect ratio on a 4” TFT color LCD screen, a rechargeable battery which allows for up to six hours of video or 15 hours of audio playback, a SDIO memory card slot , FM radio and voice recorder.

Topping off Samsung’s early 2006 portable entertainment related announcements is the YP-D1 (February – $249 for 1GB of flash memory storage and $299 for 2GB). This MP3/WMA (including DRM10)/OGGdigital audio player sports a built-in two megapixel digital camera with 4x zoom. Features include a 1.8” color LCD screen, MPEG4 video playback, JPEG photo display, FM radio and up to 20 hours ofrechargeable battery MP3 playback.   Click here for film coverage of the Samsung booth at CES