New Apple iPods = Lower MP3 Player Costs

The new recently announced Apple iPods have apparently caused some pretty standard price reductions on a variety of MP3 players from several vendors.

For instance, the advertised price at many stores in the US for the 30-GB Microsoft Zune Digital Media Player is now $199.99.  And the San Disk 8-GB Sansa e280R MP3 player is now coming in as low as $129.99.

The new iPods are definitely pretty feature rich and will have a premium price for a while.

The marketplace continues to be dominated by Apple, and that will probably not change anytime in the near future even with the price drop/rebate that Apple is doing with the iPhone.


New Lower Price Changes For MP3 Players

I continue to monitor the price changes in mainstream consumer advertisements for MP3 players. 

They haven't changed much in recent months until this week.

Some things I noticed:

  • Office Depot: SanDisk 2-GB c250 for $50 plus Archos 4-GB 104 for $100.
  • Circuit City: Creative Zen V Plus 4-GB for $100 plus Zune 30-GB for $230
  • Fry's: San Disk 2-GB C150 for $40 (after rebate) and RCA Lyra 5-GB for $50

It is my prediction that as per GB costs for Flash MP3 players gets below $25, and per GB costs for hard drive players get near $7 that more people currently not on the mobile digital media band wagon will have less of a financial reason to stay out of the game.

This should help generate more people looking for podcast content. What do you think?


Update on Audacity Session @ Podcast Expo 2007

I will be presenting a 'Getting Started with Audacity' session at the 2007 Podcast & New Media Expo on Saturday, September 29 from 3:15-4:15 p.m.

This session will be very hands-on with the expectation that participants come prepared to follow along with their own laptops. 

If you have questions or comments about this session, then please check out the Forum @ Podcast & New Media Expo.


Podcast Catchup - Web 2.0, NAB, New Media Book

I really enjoyed VentureCast#21 that included reviews of Web 2.0, NAB, and an update on what is going on at Six Apart.

I also have to recommend Chris Gondek's Invisible Hand Podcast interview with Philip Meza about his book "Coming Attractions: Hollywood, High Tech, and the Future of Entertainment".


Pointers To New Wi-Fi Media Players

PC World for April 2007 had a round down of some current and near-future WI-FI enabled media players that competes with the Music Gremlin that I thought was interesting to note:

The article also noted that Microsoft Zune has limited Wi-Fi features that could be opened up for more functionality.


Tech Watch: Seagate DAVE

Seagate's Digital Audio and Video Experience (DAVE) looks like an interesting mobile media player  on paper.  You can get see a video demo over at Gizmodo.

Core features: wirelessly share media via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi; storage up to 20-GBs; form factor of 3.5-by-4.7-by-0.5-inches; and an estimated cost of $150.


Some Suggestions To Improve The Zune

On TWIT's Windows Weekly #17, Leo and Paul have a Q&A with David Caulton of the Microsoft Zune Team. It is a good podcast and after listening I came up with three things that Microsoft can do to promote the 'social' part of the Zune:

  1. Integrated and rich support for audio and video podcasts on the Zune, but also in Vista and Windows XP operating systems.
  2. Pick a partner like Star Bucks or Best Buy and create Zune media sharing outlets with Zune devices available from major content providers including citizen media to share from these outlets.
  3. Release a toolkit like their Robots Studio 1.0 toolkit that lets people share to Zune devices via PCs.  Even with the crummy DRM, there might be a way to setup a non-expiring DRM public key infrastructure so you could share even podcasts or other citizen generated content via this method.

Just some ideas ...


Pointer - Olympus DS-50 Recorder

The new Olympus DS-50 ($249) looks like a good potential audio recording tool both for quick podcast segment recordings and for doing mobile interviews. 

It comes with a clip-on stereo microphone and 1-GB of storage, but only seems to only store files in Windows Media Audio (WMA) or MP3 formats which isn't optimal from an post-production standpoint.  Another potential draw back is no stated support for Apple Mac OS X.

It also seems to have some features for Windows users to listen to media including podcasts and Audible content.


MP3 Market Survey (#001) - Continued

I am still updating my Google spreadsheet that tracks advertised MP3 player prices especially in the U.S. Sunday newspaper advertising inserts. 

My main reason for doing this is that I'm curious if there could be trend related to MB/price ratios and the possibility of more podcast listeners because prices get down into the commodity level.

This past weekend (one week before Christmas) didn't seem to hold any major price changes that could be considered a trend. Some things I did note:

  • Best Buy had some $10-30 gift cards available for some player purchases, but no major price breaks on Apple iPods, Zune, SanDisk, or Insignia players.
  • Staples had a pretty good price for the SanDisk Sansa e280 and Creative Zen Vision:M 30GB

Podcast Advertiser Watch #04

This is my latest informal podcast sampling (#01, #02, #03) of who is advertising on which podcasts I have listened to over the last month ending on 12/17/06:

The podcasts listed above are ones that have changed their ads and I noticed.  Many of my podcasts I listen to have not changed in some time, and they should be listed in previous posts.

Additionally, I have really been listening to a lot of podcasts with no direct advertising, specifically a lot of FriendsInTech.com and Manager-Tools.

If you keep a list, or want to contribute to this kind of data analysis list via transparent disclosure, let me know at: sholden@pobox.com and I'll link you in.