Sometimes, electronics companies release limited edition devices aimed at people who have a lot of money. That happened back in 2005, when Samsung released the YP-W3 pocket watch style DAP. One of the versions of the DAP came with all the bells and whistles, including platinum plating, eight diamonds, a wooden box, the best earphones Samsung had at the time, and more. The cost? €999, or about $1300 with today’s exchange rate.
The combination of a high cost and few units made caused this DAP to be somewhat of an impossible dream for many DAP collectors, including our forum moderator, lebellium. Thanks to the miracle of eBay, however, he managed to get his hands on a used one 7 years later, for the much nicer price of €70. It might be 7 years old and technically outdated by now, but the YP-W3 is a very special piece of DAP history. Lebellium now has a review of the player in our forums, so if you want to read about the DAP that cost more than a nice set of high-end tablets today, check out the review by hitting the link below.
Samsung is apparently trying to get an Android device on the market for every screen size ever theorized, and the just announced (but long since leaked) Galaxy player 5.8 fits into that plan very well. The name comes from the 5.8-inch screen that the device features, which has a rather low (comparatively speaking) resolution of 960 x 540. Android 4.0 is onboard, and you have Bluetooth 4, a VGA front camera, 16 or 32GB of internal memory, and a microSDHC expansion slot. A dual core 1GHz chip and 1GB of RAM was rumored, but the official information doesn’t mention that part of the hardware.
This player is hard to place in today’s market. The argument for existing Galaxy Players has been that they’re portable than tablets, and cheaper than phones. 5.8 inches is closer than before to the 7-inch tablet market, which consists of budget devices like the Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. With the Nexus you get a much higher resolution screen and much better performance, but it seriously lacks in the storage department. The Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 doesn’t have as impressive a screen or chipset, but has more bells and whistles like a microSDHC slot and camera.
Even so, a 5.8-inch device is still more pocketable than a 7-inch tablet, so the new Galaxy Player isn’t necessarily doomed right away. I guess it will all depend on the price, which isn’t yet known.
[Samsung Tomorrow via Android Central]
Remember Samsung’s Pebble MP3 player? In what is a surprising move to say the least, Samsung brought back the design and the name yesterday during its Galaxy S III smartphone announcement. The new S Pebble is classified as an accessory to the S III, and is essentially a 4GB screenless MP3 player that has the ability to sync directly with the S III as well as a computer. The controls are a mix between switches to control power and shuffle, and touch buttons on the front of the player (yeah, touch buttons…ugh). The tiny player is said to do 17 hours on a single charge, and sync via the 3.5mm port.
You may be asking why on Earth anyone would want such a device, or perhaps you’re already angry because Samsung has essentially taken a feature that exists on devices with USB host (assuming the MSC-enabled player you plug into it doesn’t try to charge off it) and made it a proprietary accessory. The idea of this device is that people who do activities where a 4.8-inch smartphone is unsuited – like running – can leave their phone at home and bring the S Pebble instead. There aren’t any features like pedometers or other sports related sensors in the thing though, it’s just an music player. With Samsung releasing a new Music Hub service with cloud syncing and iTunes Match-like functionality, it makes some sort of sense that they’re enabling the player to be synced directly from a phone that has all of this, instead of assuming that all music comes from a computer.
As long as they keep the price low I don’t see any problem with leaving this device unhated for now, but I fear that this is going to be another overpriced official accessory like all accessories Samsung and other first parties have ever released. If that’s the case, I have a feeling that I’m going to be struck with a sudden and uncontrollable need to bring my Galaxy S II, USB host cable, and Sansa Clip+ around with me and politely inform people that Samsung didn’t just invent the wheel.
It’s called the Galaxy Player S Wifi 4.2, so its name should be a dead giveaway that it’s slightly larger than the 4.0 and slightly smaller than the 5.0. Also, it’s white/grey-ish instead of black.
Other than that, there really aren’t any big differences to spot between the various models. They all have the same 800 x 480 resolution (in an IPS variety on the 4.2, contrary to Samsung’s usual AMOLED screens), same 1 GHz processor speed, same Android 2.3 operating system, same codec support, same connectivity options, and so on. The new 4.2 still seems to lack HDMI output – an issue users have criticized as one of the biggest shortcomings of the 4.0 and 5.0, and a major drawback of an otherwise nicely specced PMP.
The 4.2 comes with 8 or 16 GB of internal memory, and of course a MicroSD slot to add some more. Its battery holds 1500 mAh, so let the speculations about its run time begin. No release date or street price have been announced yet.
Oh yeah, before I forget it – the 4.2 comes preloaded with some random game. This seems to be a big enough deal to mention it in the specs sheet of the press release.
[Samsung press release via Engadget]
Forum member SteveS cooked up a custom kernel and ROM for the European version of the Galaxy S Wifi 4.0. Note that this won’t work on the American or Korean version of the Galaxy (yet), nor on the Galaxy S Wifi 5.0.
Besides gaining root/superuser access to the device and various interface tweaks, this ROM includes the Voodoo sound patch, effectively fixing Samsung’s botched audio output. Voodoo fixes the amplification gain for less background hiss and louder output, and – similar to Cowon players – adds a hardware parametric EQ and a hardware 3D spatialization effect for the Wolfson audio CODEC as well.
- Based on Original XXKPQ Kernel
- Added Voodoo sound patches
- Can work with XXKPN and XXKPQ stock Samsung ROM.
- To use Voodoo sound you need to install Voodoo Control or Voodoo Control Plus
- Contains the latest STeVE’s Kernel 1.0: you don’t need to flash separately
- Based on original XXKPQ Samsung stock ROM
- Contains root and superuser permissions
- Tweaked theme: Honeycomb status bar icons, transparent notification pane, ICS windows effects
- CRT screen off animation
- If you start from a XXKPN or XXKPQ you can skip wipe to keep your existing applications and settings
Check Steve’s forum thread for discussion and download links.
Already announced in January 2011, it took good old Sammy long enough to get these 4″ and 5″ 480×800 screen things on the American market. Speaking of market: contrary to Cowon’s D3 and Archos’ Generation 8, Samsung’s phones-without-a-phone come with the official Android Market installed. The long wait for the Galaxy Players’ release also paid off on the operating system side of things – both players run on Android 2.3.5, which is one of the more recent ‘Gingerbread’ versions. Besides the usual variety of codecs and containers found on Android devices, the Galaxy players support MKV, FLV, OGG Vorbis, and FLAC as well.
Hardware specs are quite exhaustive. With front and rear cameras both shutterbugs and chatterbugs should be happy; GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, and Wi-Fi B/G/N are present as well. Not to mention a very necessary MicroSDHC slot – since internal capacity is only a pathetic 8GB for both players. Samsung claims the 2500mAh battery in the Galaxy 5.0 should last up to 60 hours for music playback, which sounds a bit implausible. Eight hours video playback seems more realistic, though. The Galaxy 4.0 runs on a 1200mAh battery and should presumably deliver 54 hours for music and five hours for video.
[Amazon: Galaxy Player 4.0 | Galaxy Player 5.0] Thanks to Lagoo56 for the tip.
It’s a dilemma one encounters with many a portable player: manufacturers design nice hardware, but the accompanying firmwares lack in features and/or usability. The Samsung R0 is certainly not the player with the worst firmware out there, but Italian hacker Lorenz092 and his co-conspirators thought they could improve the user experience nevertheless.
Choosing the R0 as a modding target is certainly a smart move – the R0 is quite popular, has a nice aluminum housing with lots of tactile buttons, it is inexpensive – and it runs on Linux. Also, in the long run, modding its stock firmware might pave the way for a Rockbox port.
Currently, the modded firmware is at version 2.10 (based on official firmware 1.25). It features improved translations for several languages, removes the – for most people – annoying startup and shutdown sounds, changes the look of the battery status indicator, changes the key press time used for resetting the player, and – biggest of all – implements a Device Rescue Kit (DRK). This DRK feature basically means you can recover the player from being bricked, without having to sent it back to Samsung for fixing. Unbricking the player yourself sure beats paying money and waiting several weeks for it to return, methinks.
In future versions of his custom firmware Lorenz092 wants to implement a CPU downclocking feature, which might effectively double the R0′s battery life. Other planned features are integrating the player’s SD slot with its internal database, tweaking the sleep mode time, and several things more. This is getting very interesting.
Read the forum thread, or jump straight to the post containing the download link.
We already mentioned the upcoming YP-R2 some time ago, now Samsung adds two more players to their current lineup, the YP-F3 and YP-Z3. They sure are a bit too… déjà vu to really call them “new”, but kudos to Samsung for keeping their hardware output steady.
The Z3 appears to be situated somewhere between the Z5, Q3, and maybe the R0. Besides sporting MP3HD support like the aforementioned R2 it doesn’t have any overly novel features. It is said to support h264 video playback, but on a tiny screen of unknown resolution – possibly 320×240 or maybe even 160×128 (which would have been top of the line for a 2005 player) – one sure wouldn’t want to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy in one go. The Z3 comes in capacities of 4 and 8GB – no SD expansion slot.
The F3 is a player that seemingly belongs to the U-series of Samsung devices, it doesn’t really resemble the long discontinued line of F players that much. On a cursory glance the F3 is basically the same player as the U5 and U6 – hopefully it comes with a classy CSTN display as well. Contrary to the U-series, the F3 doesn’t have an USB plug built in, but a MicroUSB port. It comes in cringe-worthy 2 and 4GB capacities, with no expansion slot as well.
Thanks to Lebellium for the tips. Check the YP-F3 forum thread and YP-Z3 forum thread for full specs and discussions.
In South Korea, Samsung releases you. Ok, enough of the old meme slaughtering.
Sammy, biggest economical power in South Korea, just released their new YP-R2 – at least in Russia. It is a interesting device, in that it supports and audio codec no other portable device (and not many software players either) supports – MP3HD.
MP3HD is a hybrid lossy/lossless codec, similar to Wavpack. It contains a portion that is a regular compressed MP3 file, playable by any audio player – and it contains a lossless portion that’s only playable by the R2 to date, as far as portable audio players go. The merits of this strategy are debatable, since most people who care about these things simply keep their originals as FLAC on their hard disks and transcode them to whatever format they like for portable use – but it sure is laudable that Samsung dared to be different in including this codec that not even Rockbox supports. Even if MP3HD files are several times larger than regular MP3 files, with debatable improvement in audio quality for casual listening on the go, at least on this one player that supports them.
As for other specs, the R2 is a lukewarm affair: a low-res 240×400 screen, same as the Archos 32, no SD expansion slot (memory from 4 to 16GB), Samsung’s new ‘SoundAlive’ audio enhancements. On the positive side, battery life claims are decent: 40 hours for audio, 4 hours for video… well, not really great, but still ok.
Thanks to Lebellium for the tip. Read the full specs in the forum thread.
Introduced in 2005 the famous U series has welcomed a new device end of 2010: the YP-U6 or U6. No surprise here as this series has always sold well. Indeed, many people do not want to spend much money on mp3 players and just need a small MP3 USB key, not a high-end Cowon DAP. But they may also be demanding on quality. Thus this review is the opportunity to check if the U6 is worth it and really better than the U5.
Please note this review is based on firmware 1.09. At the time you are reading it, a new firmware may have been released.