Samsung goes mobile with the Galaxy Player; Microsoft's Zune bows out.
While tablets continue to dominate the mobile tech imagination and phones continue on their march toward replacing everything else we used to carry in our pockets, Samsung has reentered the relatively neglected media player market, announcing the launch of two new Galaxy media players, available later this year. The Galaxy Players (the 4" and 5" screen versions are near-identical, the 5" adds a flash to its primary camera) are Wi-Fi only, aimed squarely at the buyer who wants another go-anywhere media device, but isn't interested in buying another 3G/4G data plan.
The devices are fully featured Android devices (shipping with 2.2 Froyo, and upgradeable to 2.3 Gingerbread), with access to the Android market, Adobe Flash support, and pretty much everything else you might find on a phone save for the phone itself. The Galaxies support AllShare (Samsung's implementation of DLNA) for streaming media to and from the devices over Wi-Fi.
While initial specs imply that the Galaxy players are limited to 48kHz playback, they do support FLAC out of the box; good news for folks who can't stand to listen to compressed formats under any circumstances, or just don't want to transcode their home media libraries to take a few tunes on the road. Android enthusiasts have long called for FLAC support, and though player apps do exist, Google hasn't yet shipped an Android version that supports the lossless format natively.) There's a microSD slot for expandable storage too, which FLAC fans will definitely be taking advantage of.
The Galaxy Player announcement comes, interestingly enough, in the same week that Microsoft finally laid to rest the physical incarnation of its Zune media player brand. The Zune HD had some committed fans, and the company insists that it plans to support existing devices - it just won't build any new ones, but will continue to develop Zune software for the Windows Phone 7 platform)