Samsung Preps 2 and 4 GB Flash MP3 Players

Samsung Electronics has announced its new YP-Z5 Music Jukebox, a portable MP3 player which offers 2 to 4 GB of flash memory, nearly 24 hours of battery life, a 1.8-inch LCD screen and compatibility with digital music services which use Windows Media DRM.

“The YP-Z5 displays Samsung’s commitment to expanding the market possibilities in the portable digital audio space,” said Mark Farish, Samsung’s Digital Media Products Senior Marketing Manager. “Consumers are choosing digital music subscription services and Samsung supports this trend with the first 4GB flash player to offer subscription capabilities.”

While the main selling point for the YP-Z5 may be its battery life (offering close to 24 hours of music playback between recharges), the YP-Z5 is also Microsoft Plays for Sure Audio Download and Subscription enabled, which Samsung claims makes it the first 4 GB flash memory player to offer direct support for subscription services like Yahoo Music, MSN Music, Rhapsody, and Napster. While Samsung hasn’t provided any information yet about the unit’s weight or size (and the only image available so far seems to be from the Korean site AVING Global News Network), Samsung says the YP-Z5 sports a durable aluminum body and an “ultra-slim” form factor and a “unique” touch pad interface with a customizable background. The unit supports MP3, WMA, and WMA DRM10 audio (no word on uncompressed WAV or AIF) and can display JPEG images and photos on the built-in screen. (Slideshow and photo zoom functions are also available.

Samsung says the YP-Z5 will be available in the U.S. in February 2006 for a suggested price of $199 for the 2GB edition and $249 for the 4 GB edition, precisely matching Apple’s current pricing for the 2 and 4 GB flash-based iPod nano.