In an increasingly crowded marketplace, heavily dominated by iPod products, rival MP3 manufacturers are constantly foraging around to unearth new Unique Selling Points.
After Apple scored another direct hit with the iPod shuffle – a simple player offering randomised MP3 playback – the boffins at Philips were dispatched to their techie bunker and told not to come out until they’d come up with something Very Special Indeed.
And it seems that they might have come up trumps, with the new Philips HDD093 and HDD095 models.
Although they may not look too revolutionary, sporting the usual feature set (small form factor, 3GB drives, ten hours of battery life, MP3/WMA playback, greyscale and colour screens) the killer stroke comes with an intriguing new feature regaling under the deceptively simple name of ‘Like Music’.
This smarty-pants widget has the ability to ‘thread’ songs based on common attributes, including genre, tempo, and overall mood.
So, if you’re swinging your pants to some crazy punk music, engaging the ‘Like Music’ feature should get your MP3 player to intelligently serve you up 20 more tracks that it thinks sounds similar to what you’re currently listening to.
And it doesn’t just serve up any old stuff either – apparently, the player uses 40 metrics to locate tracks with a familiar beat, instrument line-up, and tempo, so you shouldn’t find a Kylie track wedged between Green Day and the Pistols.
Although we’ve yet to be sent a player to test for ourselves (excuse us while we deliver a loud cough in the direction of Philips), this looks like a really compelling feature, and one that could give Philips an edge over their rivals.
After all, with MP3 players increasingly being stuffed full of thousands of tracks which are often mislabelled or just lumped together in over-flowing folders, mood-based sequencing could prove to be the best way to keep the party going.
The players will debut in the late summer for around £200. Drunk MP3 DJs will love them.
Photo credit: Engadget.