For those who remember, Music Gremlin was the first MP3 player to offer wi-fi connectivity. It was tied into a music service that allowed for the automatic download of content much like the Ibiza Rhapsody and SanDisk’s own Sansa Connect. While I don’t know about the acquisition terms and what their plans are for the integration of MG into SanDisk, but this is rather troubling to me and I question the good that will come out of this acquisition for a few reasons.
First off, if I made a list of the worst MP3 players of all time, the MusicGremlin would be near the top if not the top. The UI was messy and sluggish to the point where it was unusable. Along with that it had the worst sound quality right there next to the DisneyMix Stick. Even at the time of its release it was huge, clunky, and overpriced; something that should accompany the Mototrola Brick phone from the 80’s. Granted, I know that the hardware is not coming back and I have trust in SanDisk to whip up a nice device, but what is troubling is that they may be bringing people over from MG that allowed this device to be released into the wild.
Second, I’m still not sure the market is ready for another attempt at a wireless music service device. The MusicGremlin, Connect, Ibiza, and Slacker have all not done so well to say the least. Whether it’s the premium on these devices or the monthly subscription charge that is shying users away, I’m not positive, but it is without a doubt an uphill battle for on device subscription services.
SanDisk probably picked this one up for pennies on the dollar considering that MusicGremlin was likely wading in the shallow end of the deadpool- perhaps there are a few useful underlying technologies in the remnants. Time and tunes will tell.