You might not have thought about it much, but there’s not really anything challenging the iPod Touch for dominance in the smartphone-without-actually-being-a-smartphone market. Try to think of one that sells anywhere near as many units as the Touch – there’s nothing. Samsung is looking to continue its run of success in the handheld market and challenge Apple’s juggernaut with the release of the Galaxy Player 4.0 and 5.0.
You can look at these as oversized smartphone form factor devices, or small tablets, but the main thing to keep in mind here is that they aren’t smartphones. There will be no 3G or 4G network available, but Wi-Fi will be. They will both run Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and for all intents and purposes will be like any other Android smartphone, just without the ability to make calls over a cellular network. But, find a Wi-Fi network and grab the Skype app, and who needs to?
The full range of apps on the Android Market will be available to users, so these two devices will be every bit the media centers that their smartphone and tablet cousins are. The 5.0 is a bit big to be comfortably mobile, but the 4.0 has a nice, standard smartphone form factor that will fit nicely into any pocket and any hand. Support for Samsung’s Media Hubs will also come in update sometime after launch.
The Galaxy Player 4.0 and 5.0 can be pre-ordered as of today, and will officially launch on October 16th. The 4.0 will cost $229, and the 5.0 will cost $269. That’s a little more pricey than I would have liked to see for a non-phone device, but then again, not needing to pay for a contract could be worth it by itself. And, they pack in all the Android goodness we’ve come to expect in a comfortable body. If you just want entertainment on the go, both look like winners.