Your MP3 Player Is Ringing...

You've gotta give it to Samsung. After all, anyone trying to come out with an iPod killer has a steep slope ahead. Samsung has officially launched the P2, a sleek, flash-based media player that delivers music, movies and pictures. The Nano-like P2 is slightly thicker than its Apple counterpart but comes with a roomy 3-inch touchscreen. The Samsung twists? Bluetooth connectivity and EmoTure, an input system that uses taps and finger swipes to control the device.

The Bluetooth 2.0-enabled player works with wireless headphones (sign me up for a pair so I don't get all tangled up at the gym) and a tiny wireless speaker system. If you've got a cell phone with Bluetooth, you can answer the phone using either the headphones or the speaker system. You hear the caller via the headphones or the speakers and speak back via microphones built into both devices. The feature will be available in December as part of a firmware upgrade that also includes AAC decoding and file transfer between Bluetooth devices.

Admittedly, the premise a bit of a stretch, but hey, it could catch on. Say you're walking down the street listening to music and you get a call on the cell phone. Instead of fumbling around in your bag (or your man purse), you hit a button on the headphones, the P2 mutes and you answer the call. It's not going to make people ditch their iPods (and especially their iPhones) but it's an interesting twist. For those who don't ride the iTunes bus, it's a nice extra.

As part of the official launch, Samsung announced partnerships with Rhapsody, Napster and CinemaNow. Video from the latter has been optimized for playback on the 3-inch widescreen P2 screen. A two-hour movie consumes roughly 700 megs of storage, which pretty much eliminates the 4-GB version ($199) if you want a decent amount of space left for music and picture storage. The 8GB model sells for $249.--Rebecca Day

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