There are two ways of announcing products. Sony, Apple etc doesn’t say a word about anything until the day of the press release, while companies like Cowon, iriver, Meizu etc like to leak some info months or years in advance to get more PR. I don’t know about you people, but personally the second way of doings things annoy me as you find yourself waiting for products that were supposed to be out 3 months ago. Cowon’s new S9 is one such player and what started out as excitement in our forums have turned into people banging their head against the wall wanting to know if it will ever be out. Well, Cowon just released an official press release in Korea containing the prices and the official release date.
The player will come in 4, 8 and 16GB capacities with a price of $150 (219,000 won), $180 (259,000 won), and $215 (309,000 won) respectively. The date for this release is December 16th, but remember this date (and the prices) doesn’t reflect when the player will be out in the US and the rest of the world. Not long ago they blamed production issues and said the thing wouldn’t be out until 2009, so it’s not easy to predict when we will see this thing. Let’s just hope it will have a better firmware than the O2. Hit the forum link below for a massive pictures galore of the new player.
[ABi>> Forum S9 Pictures|
Press release via Engadget]
Cowon has always had a strong underground following for its very clean sound and great support for audio codecs. However, this underground support is slipping due to very poorly written firmware. Even in the past being a Cowon user have been bothered by numerous buggy and botched firmwares. I in fact have bricked an i7 as well as U3- bricked to the point of having to be returned to the manufacture to be fixed. Both of these happened while upgrading firmwares.
Every week there is a number of news articles concerning DAPs that don’t make it to our front page simply because they are too insignificant for their own article. It can be a delay in release dates, small firmware update etc. To try and get this out to the people as well, here’s a news summary of week 48 2008.
GenerationMP3 is reporting that the long awaited S9 will be delayed until early 2009 do to production issues in Korea. Our forums have been buzzing with people wondering when the S9 will finally be out and it seems they have to wait a bit longer still.
The Samsung P3 has showed up at the FCC according to Engadget. This is just a further update on the P3 story as GenerationMP3 already has one and did a first look not too long ago.
iriver is doing their usual weird strategic choices in the DAP industry and have released a new version of the E100. This isn’t the E150/E200 that Grahm wrote about in April as according to Akihabara News the only new thing about this model (named E100 Season 2) is new colors. If you recall our E100 review it isn’t exactly the best player on the market and i fail to see how a few new colors will change that.
Thanksgiving is on for our American readers and in the wake of that comes black Friday. This also means a lot of deals on MP3 players and related accessories, so join our forums and share the deals to help make sure the players will find a new home.
Vostok.no, the main Cowon retailer in Norway, just got listings of the new O2 players. The O2 will come in 8, 16 and 32GB as we already know, and will be released to resellers the last week of October and shipping to customers first week of November.
While Norwegian pricing cannot be compared to US or even EU pricing, the price of the players suggest that the 8GB model will cost about the same as a 30GB A3, the 16GB will be about the same as a 60GB A3 and the 32GB model will be close to the 80GB A3. If this is true for other countries as well we can expect a US pricing of about $330, $370 and $410 respectively. Far from the cheapest player around, but it should still be an interesting one nevertheless.
The most anticipated player, the S9, hasn’t got any specific release date or pricing yet but is expected to be released around the time of the O2 or not far behind. While it’s a less video centric player than the O2 it might be priced even higher considering the specs, but hopefully Cowon won’t commit market suicide by putting a too premium price on the device.
Not all details were known about the S9 when it was first discovered on Cowon’s site, but the full specs are now out on what seems to be one of the new big things this year.
We already knew the player has a 3.3″ AMOLED screen with a resolution of 272×480. AMOLED screens are capable of lighting themselves and does not require backlighting like LCD screens. The Bluetooth support is listed as A2DP and AVRCP compatible which means audio streaming and remote controlling, and no support for headset mode or file transfer is listed. The interface will auto rotate as you turn the player and be flash, so hopefully that means it’s skinable right out of the box. With a 500 MHz dual core CPU it should hopefully be rather quick. It comes with 9 EQ presets and like other Cowon players it does both Ogg Vorbis and FLAC. Size wise it will be 57.08 x 105.75 x 12.7 mm
It’s the video aspect of the S9 that will disappoint many people. It only plays at the screens native resolution, which is rubbish in my opinion. This is most likely to make sure such players as the O2 have a market as well, but in doing so they limited a player which could be the new big hit and native Xvid support without resolution limits would definitely help towards that. It does do WMV and AVI (prob Xvid) like the D2 and h.264 has been added as a third supported video format. This means better quality per megabyte of data, and it might mean it will play back PSP formatted video. Don’t get your hopes up however as h.264 compatible portable players tend to be extremely picky on what they will play back. The video support will do the job, but it could have been soooo much better – especially since the player has TV out, a feature that was barely a novelty on the D2.
Lastly, the capacity. A lot of people have been pointing out that this thing doesn’t have memory expansion, something that’s become a must have after the reign of the D2. With capacities up to 16GB at release and 32GB later, it isn’t ever capable of reaching the D2′s 48GB combined storage space. Not to mention the 32GB version will most likely be rather expensive, maybe more than people are willing to pay. So the question that remains is this, will you still want one after seeing the limitations?If so, it will be out in October.
Cowon is back and I must say this is perhaps the most exciting new line of players this year, after disappointing new lines from both Creative and iriver. Cowon has just put up info on their site about three new players, the S9, O2 and L3 – all of which looks to be spectacular.
The three players will each be different sizes; 3.3″, 4.3″ and 7″ respectively. All of them have touch screens and very few tactile buttons. Read on for the full details on the three players.