Once more into the breach dear Dell, once more

31 Jul 2008

Dell has decided to give the music market one more try with another attempt at its own MP3 player, but having failed once before it may prove even more difficult to penetrate a maturing market where the Apple iPod reigns supreme.

As Dell announces plans to bring a brand-spanking new MP3 player to market, perhaps as soon as September, one hopes it in no way resembles its previous failed attempt: the Dell DJ Ditty – a small, clunky, monochrome-screened gadget with a dodgy name.

Hopefully this time around Dell has realised that getting the looks right is half the battle with the consumer market, who usually plump for the super-sleek iPod line of products.

Dell originally had a DJ series of hard-drive based MP3 players that were of the same ilk as the Creative Zen but they were all replaced in February 2006 by the Flash-based DJ Ditty, which was suddenly put to rest in August of the same year, ending Dell’s brief foray into the digital music market.

The Dell DJ Ditty, which was roughly the same size as the iPod shuffle, may have died within a few months of its release but Dell still sells accessories for the ex-MP3 player.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the new player will be similarly priced to the old one, probably around the US$99 mark, and will have the ability to connect via WiFi to download music straight to the device.

Strangely, Dell decided to withdraw the DJ Ditty following what it saw as a disappointing market share of 3pc, but according to Bloomberg, with Apple holding 72pc of the MP3 player market as of April 2007 and Samsung and Microsoft each holding about 2.5pc, the question is did Dell miss its chance already?

Is it too late for Dell? As Shakespeare (though admittedly a man who did not have knowledge of the MP3 player market) once said: “Delays have dangerous ends.”

By Marie Boran

Pictured: the short-lived Dell DJ Ditty, born February 2006 and put to rest in August of the same year