Ready for the DJ Ditty 2? You'd better be because the Wall Street Journal says that "several Dell officials" have confirmed in-house testing of a new sub-$100 digital music player that could go on sale as early as September. Dell also plans to launch a download service and software to "organize music and movies from various online sources" in order to properly seed the product ecosystem. The new player features a small navigation screen and basic button controls and will connect to online music services over WiFi. Unfortunately, there's no mention of DRM, only that downloaded music can be shared with PCs and cellphones. So... if you're wondering how Dell's acquisition of Zing might play into this then go get yourself a cookie, Dell's device is based on Zing's software (that's a pre-Dell era Zing prototype pictured). In fact, Zing will come pre-installed on a series of Dell laptops and "other devices" (like a Dell smartphone, maybe?) and will likely connect to "Zingspot" if Dell puts its trademark to use.
Funny, this all sounds very 2006 to us as we struggle to see how Dell's player / service will compete in a market already shaking itself out -- right Sony, Yahoo, and Microsoft? In fact, the whole WSJ piece seems like an attempt for Dell to gauge public reaction without suffering the indignity of a failed product announcement. Michael Tatelman, Dell's VP of Consumer Sales, says he'll decide "in a few weeks" how to proceed with the player and may decide not to sell it at all. So go ahead folks, now's your chance to tell Dell how you feel with all the anonymous key slapping you can muster in the comments.
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