Hands on Video With the Haier / AOL 30GB Wireless Media Player

haier aol player 5 thumb Hands on Video With the Haier / AOL 30GB Wireless Media Player

This is definitely my favorite player at CES this year. The design is super sexy and the GUI is smooth and lag free. Jenn reported on this earlier, but here’s a quick recap of its major features: WiFi, Bluetooth, 30GB, direct internet downloads, and support for MP3, WMA, MPEG, and WMV.

The player is still far from final and won’t be released until sometime in Q2 2007. They have yet to choose a name and even brand for the product. It could be AOL, it could be Haier, but I think it would be best to create a new brand. AOL still carries a stigma and Haier is not known in the US.

Read on for my initial impressions, more photos, and a video demo of the GUI.



Design

The construction is very sturdy and the tolerances are tight. It feels like a solid block of aluminum – a bit heavier than most players.

haier aol player 1 thumb Hands on Video With the Haier / AOL 30GB Wireless Media Playerhaier aol player 2 thumb Hands on Video With the Haier / AOL 30GB Wireless Media Playerhaier aol player 3 thumb Hands on Video With the Haier / AOL 30GB Wireless Media Playerhaier aol player 4 thumb Hands on Video With the Haier / AOL 30GB Wireless Media Player

Interface

The interface is simple, yet has enough buttons (including dedicated volume controls) to do what you need to do quickly. I am not a fan of touch interfaces but the black square in the middle is responsive and accurate, more so than other touch interfaces. The black square responds to up and down strokes as well as side-to-side for some menu options. It also clicks for menu executions.

GUI

The GUI is very clean, smooth, and lag free. It is also simple, but at the same time allows full control of your media. For example, things like deleting media and managing playlists can easily be performed.

Other Stuff

Right now the WiFi connection is only used for direct content downloads. There are probably plans for other WiFi capabilities, but they are not talking yet. I know you are thinking, “What about unrestricted player-to-player sharing?” It won’t happen on this player since a major media company is involved. However, I do see file sharing if both players subscribed to a service.

The price is not known, however I am told that is going to be in line with the iPod.

That is about all we know at the moment. This is definitely something to keep an eye on. Stay tuned for more info as it comes in.

19 Comments

hobo on January 15, 2007 11:54 AM

I love the GUI. It reminds me of the iphone

Utew on January 15, 2007 1:02 PM

Looks better than I had originally thought. Should be fairly configurable, I’m guessing. I like the fact that it seems to have a semi-indestructible case too.I agree on the name, Enzo… AOL doesn’t cut it. Let’s hope for less restrictive Wi-Fi capabilities. Great hands-on..Thanks! Now I’m dying for more info on this baby…

aol sucks on January 15, 2007 3:31 PM

If AOL has any involvement with this, I won’t buy it – no matter how cool it is. I will buy something that I know is associated with AOL.

dfkt on January 15, 2007 4:03 PM

Very nice… let the hacking/rockboxing begin….

JDGAFFLIN on January 15, 2007 4:32 PM

I think it looks great. I can’t wait to see what the “finished” product is going to be like, especially the Wi-Fi options.

Dave on January 15, 2007 8:24 PM

I love the GUI. It reminds me of windows media player 11. Although, I’m not to crazy about the chrome body because of finger print smudges and scratches look like it would be attracted to it.

+anthem on January 15, 2007 9:17 PM

To tell you the truth, it looks like crap right now. In its current state, it looks like one of those modded iPods with the jaggedy looking edges and stuff.

Noam on January 16, 2007 7:25 AM

Fungus, uh, Dingus Jr., I think you mean the SanDisk Sansa e280.

mike on January 16, 2007 10:10 AM

If the battery life is good I will get one to replace my ZVM. Cant wait to see what the hackers do with this one!!

Serio on January 16, 2007 7:03 PM

deffinatly looks impressive

Mr.Sir on January 16, 2007 7:06 PM

Seems like an ipod with more codecs to me.

Mark on January 16, 2007 10:40 PM

If it doesn’t run OGG (& FLAC), I suppose I could use it for a door stop.Or better yet, I won’t waste my money on it in the first place.Music player mfgr’s need to pay attention and get with it. There is no reason in the world why they can’t include the OGG and FLAC codecs.

The Hackman on January 17, 2007 10:00 AM

Haier isn’t well known? They sell a lot of cheap household appliances in the US. That’s right, they probably should change the name. I’d hate to think of carrying around a refrigerator.

bubblex on January 17, 2007 12:45 PM

I guess really the wifi is going to be very restricted to only subscription base.Its going to be like an ipod, with games but better navigation and more support for media formats.If they include the option of removable battery replacements, I will consider. however that might not happen untill another 8 years when ppl are sick of upgrading. or when theres just nothing to add to these media players.Don’t like the metal look to it at all. as long as my zen vision m is working, no reason for me to buy a new player.

jojo on January 17, 2007 7:10 PM

i saw this at CES and the person i talked with said its going to have lots of functionality that have not been announced: streaming radio, bluetooth, podcasts, etc, so let’s wait and see…It felt nice and hefty with a substantial but good weight, just right. Plus he said this was a ‘prototype’ and made by hand. I dont think AOL is involved directly, its just made by a subsidiary of them that is creating Linux-based software to run it. i think its gonna be nice, the UI was simple yet slick.

timmyblackboy62 on January 18, 2007 7:36 PM

it looks cool and it looks like crap. this thing better not be it’s finall design. it better also have a GOOD changanle background. that gray thing thats going on is really stupid.

Rodolfo on February 4, 2007 2:39 PM

:) good!!!

ipodSERIALkiller on February 4, 2007 9:47 PM

looks good..i would change the interface cause it looks like the ipoddefinitively got my eye on it

wildlime on May 18, 2007 1:59 AM

finally something with bluetooth stereo and over 4GB

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