Samsung has been fighting gamely in the portable media player market for a while, but even when well-revewed in industry pubs and well-regarded by users, its products have generally failed to generate much sizzle. The company aims to change that with its new K5 portable digital audio player, a flash-based player available in 2 GB and 4 GB capacities with unique, slide-out speakers which enabled users to easily share their music with others.
One oft-cited criticism of the “iPod phenomena” is that portable music players isolate people, enveloping them in private worlds of sound and experience—and then, inevitably, making them damage their hearing by cranking up the volume to drown out the real world. Samsung recognizes that for many people, music can be—and should be—a social experience. While external speaker systems and accessories have been available almost as long as digital audio players have been on the market, they’re generally clunky, inconvenient, and eliminate most of the advantages of a portable digital music player in the first place: namely, ease of use and slip-into-a-pocket portability.
To that end, the K5 features a tiny pair of slide-out speakers which convert the P3 player into a kind o micro-boombox. The speakers can’t be detached or separated from the unit—so we aren’t talking much of a stereo field here—and we’re betting the frequency response is something less than audiophile quality. But while the K5 may not rattle the windows, it can folks a taste of your tunes.
The K5 also features a 1.7-inch OLED display which can be used to display photos, offers a built-in FM tuner, and supports MP3, WMA, WMA, and WMA DRM10 audio: Samsung boasts the unit is compatible with Urge, Rhapsody, Napster, Yahoo, plus the rest of the Windows Media-based download and subscription services. The unit also has a music-based alarm clock, so you can wake up to favorite tunes rather than an annoying beep.
The Samsung K5 will be available September 10 in two capacities—2 GB and 4 GB—for $209.99 and $259.99, respectively. Initially, the K5 is available in black, but Samsung plans pink models for later this year.