Report: Dell to introduce (new and improved!) MP3 player

The ingredients for Dell’s forthcoming MP3 player look yummy. A sub-$100 price point. Wi-Fi. Access to various online music stores. Maybe even DRM-free.

But will anybody care? Seriously. Haven’t people who want a portable digital music player settled on an iPod or one of its competitors from SanDisk or Microsoft?

With Apple owning more than 70 percent of the MP3 player market in North America, is the remaining 20-something percent incentive enough for Dell to want to re-enter the fray after failing with its first line of digital music players?

May the Dell DJs (2003-2006) rest in peace.

Apparently Dell thinks so. The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reported today that computer maker Dell will re-enter the market with a new player as early as September. Dell thinks it has a chance this time because, aside from a sub-$100 price point and Wi-Fi access to content, it has a new and improved strategy!

Rather than playing music you own, the Dell 2.0 device is geared around subscription services (like that hasn’t been tried before by Rhapsody, Napster, and others).

This time Dells says its integration is tighter and seamless — it is working on software for a range of portable PCs that will let users download and organize music and movies from various online sources, according to the WSJ. Dell already has ties to music services from Pandora and Rhapsody, and it’s not inconceivable that the major recording labels or the upcoming MySpace Music service wouldn’t want to get involved with Dell to produce their own device.

But the whole new Dell MP3 player smacks of the same repackaging “innovation” found in the food industry: New and improved toothpaste tubes! Easier-to-pour milk jugs! Color-sealed sandwich bags!

A new Dell MP3 player that costs less, tastes great!

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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