Samsung needs to bring back its iPod competitor

Samsung Galaxy Player
Samsung Galaxy Player (Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

I've had a lot of Android devices over the years. Among all the phones and tablets and TV boxes though, my favorite is the lowly Samsung Galaxy Player. I got more mileage out of it than any other Android device, at half the cost of the others. It was cheap as dirt and had a great Wolfson DAC that drove my headphones almost to the breaking point. I used it until it literally stopped working, no matter how many new batteries I stuck in it.

That's why one thing I really wanted to see over the Black Friday weekend was a new Android Media player. My wishlist wasn't very long: it needed to have access to the Play Store, it needed to have a decent set of audio specs with a headphone jack, and it needed to be under $300. Needless to say, I was disappointed.

You can buy a media player that runs Android. But unless you're willing to spend a ton of money on something that's already a few years old or will settle for something that doesn't have access to a small handful of apps through Google Play, you're out of luck. And that stinks because even though I don't want to buy an iPod Touch, it's the only media player that can check your email when you're in range of a Wi-Fi router.

I'm 100% aware that I am in the minority. Most people are fine with using their phones to play music over their Bluetooth headphones and not worry about having another device to keep charged and carry around.

But there is a market for such a device. I know there is because you can still buy an iPod Touch starting at $199. It has decent specs, a headphone jack, and access to the App Store. Even though the audio hardware isn't exceptional, it ticks enough boxes. Apple wouldn't keep making one if it didn't make money from it.

I started yearning for another Galaxy Player once I was left without a phone that was a good PMP.

I really started missing my old Galaxy Player once my LG V10 kicked the bucket and boot looped itself to the big recycle bin in the sky. Rest in peace, my well-armored friend. It's too bad LG couldn't make the inside as tough as the outside.

I've made do with other phones since, but always with some sort of compromise. I don't like draining my phone battery while streaming music with piss-poor audio quality. And since only a few phones have headphone jacks, I have to use an annoying headphone dongle too. It's either that or buy that iPod Touch, which is an equally bad option in my opinion.

iPod Touch 7

Source: iMore (Image credit: Source: iMore)

Samsung could and should easily address this; there are plenty of reasons why an iPod Touch-like device could be profitable for them. They're perfect for kids who are old enough to want apps and music but aren't ready to manage a data plan (some adults fit here, too). The battery life on a device without an always-on cellular connection is awesome. Carriers like T-Mobile or Verizon track your every move then sell that data, even if you have no active service. Unless you want to use Airplane mode regularly, an MP3 player would give you much better privacy on the go.

Samsung can build the right Android-powered PMP and sell it at the right price. I wish it would.

Samsung is willing to keep making the best Android tablet to target the few people that actually buy Android tablets; no other Android OEM cares about them, not even Google. I think a big reason the company does it is that it wants to cater to people who are invested in Samsung's device ecosystem. If you have a Samsung phone, a Samsung laptop, a Samsung TV, and even a Samsung refrigerator, you will want your tablet to be made by Samsung, too. Samsung makes good products that people love, in as many categories as possible.

I wish Samsung's next tablet — not including the Galaxy Tab S8 — would be a 5-inch one that played MP3s. It's something only Samsung could pull off it can afford to build it in a way that won't cost $750. I know it will probably never happen, no matter how badly I want it. But like my dad used to tell me: it's good to want things.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Get a good sounding digital audio player instead. You can get exceptionally great sound quality in that price point you're aiming for, 300 bucks.
    The iPod model is dead, you have so many budget Android phone alternatives out there making the product category redundant. Including the Galaxy M and A models. So, spend the money on a high quality digital audio player instead. You'll thank me when you connect those headphones to it.
  • It would make sense if your an iphone user looking for an Android access. Personally as an Android user I have an ipod so I have access to apple features like I message and facetime for a decent price. But MP3 players in general are a dying market.
  • There are several DAP's in that price range, but the best suggestion would be get a Renewed Samsung S10e, fits all your needs with a large storage option and as you requested it is made by Samsung. I have converted my ole S10e into a detected music player with the option to stream.
  • This is why I hang onto old phones, never saw a reason for an Android player personally, it's no different than a phone that lacks service.
  • I too prefer a media player over a phone. I use my ipod Nan (mostly for podcasts) almost daily.
  • Rediculous idea.... An Android iPod. Spend the $300 on a better phone that still has micro SD expandable storage... Or take the $300 and buy a high capacity micro SD storage card for your phone.... Or even better, simply have an unlimited data plan and stream to your phone... Assuming you are in mobile network range. The last thing anybody needs is another device, let alone a stand alone media player. The best android phones already have the best screens & all for media consumption. Oh, but you really think you can tell the difference in audio quality? Google search the NPR audio test of different audio compressions... You probably can't tell the difference. Here's the link:
  • Flagship phones with MicroSD cards are becoming rare sadly.
  • It's not going to happen in this market driven economy. The author's article is driven by a sense of nostalgia and no matter how much sense it makes, unless the target demographic is there you're out of luck. He's chances are better going to ebay and looking for his favorite device or shell out the bucks for a high end DAP.
  • Samsung needs to bring back its iPod competitor, 2005 ☺. Definitely not going to happen in 2021 where it makes zero sense for the average consumer to have a different audio device. The improvements in smartphone devices meant we no longer had need for a disposable camera, music player etc and of course if Samsung won't be able to sell in large quantities it makes no sense for them to produce it.
  • Have you seen the Sony Walkmans that run Android? I have the A100 series model but there is also a more expensive ZX500. I have the A100 which runs Android 9, supports Hi-Res Audio and has a headphone jack. It has the Play Sore for additional apps. The sound quality is excellent, but the battery life isn't great, so you need to be ready to recharge it. The problem with Android digital audio players is they will have a longer useful life than mobile phones, but we all know that the manufacturers won't support them for that long so you run into all of the usual security issues. Now a digital audio player based on Chrome OS would be really interesting . . .
  • 1. Yes, it would be ridiculous for Samsung to make this product in 2021. At least from a business POV. 2. There are many comments in this thread ignoring the output components required to achieve the sound JH is looking for. 3. Jerry, you can get a BNIB (various carriers, but that doesn't really matter from a media player standpoint) LG G8X with ESS Sabre ES 9218P DAC for about $150 on eBay. The V50 and G8 have the same hardware config and while not the newest DAC as used in the V60; the V50, G8(X) models are tuned by Meridian rather than LG. LG took an early jab at "spatial audio" with the V60 in the form of LG 3D Sound Engine but it was at the expense of realism. B&O also tuned one of LG's DACs which I'm going to say was maybe G5 era, given the LG Friends partnerships, but IMO B&O tends to favor form a bit over function. Good luck!
  • i have over 3000 songs taking up 19gb on my Pixel 4XL and with samsung earbuds where is there a need for another device?
  • It's much to niche to make sense to Samsung. Apple can do it because iPods were popular and I expect they're bought by parents who think their kid is to young for a phone. Why not just use your phone like everyone else does?
  • I bought my kids a cheap prepaid android phone for their music players. Lock it so it only opens certain app and it was just as good
  • I echo a previous post.... just buy a Galaxy A series phone. Headphone jack, expandable storage, and it's a phone as an added bonus. I have a Galaxy A71 5G, it's great and does exactly what you want. And you can buy one off Swappa for about $200.
  • My first smart device was an iPod Touch, which was my first and last Apple device that was exclusively mine. I've been saying ever since that there needs to be an Android equivalent, whether you call it a "media player" or a "pocket tablet" or whatever. When I got my first Android phone, my iPod got demoted to bedside alarm clock and backup smart device when I need to leave the daily driver phone on the charger, and since then I've rotated my old phones into that slot with the cellular turned off so they don't cry about being kicked off the network, but the iPod was the gateway, and there are some applications where a phone would be overkill. In the meantime, my current second-string device is a phone I picked up at Walmart for $30, meant to be used with prepaid Family Mobile credits.
  • I agree, but found another solution that cost me way under $100. I bought a Trac Phone, trashed the SIM card and inserted a memory card. Installed all of my songs and viola! I download audiobooks and Podcasts to it as well.
  • Sorry, but I just don't see the point. There are plenty great midrange Android phones for 300$, expecially if go outside the traditional US bubble and get something from Poco/Xiaomi or Oppo.
  • You can buy an LG G8 ThinQ for $300 unlocked right now. Or you can get it for less than $200 if you don't mind getting it locked to T-Mobile. That's quite likely the best phone audio with expendable storage and headphone jack you're going to get in 2021. And if you say it's not, it's at least in the top 5. And like others here I bought cheaper phones for kids w/o activating them, then either added a sim card or upgraded to a nicer phone when it came time to get them service. The experience they have on a low to mid range phone is going to be a lot better than a dedicated media player. They had those too before I wanted to offer them access to anything online, but even that market has dried up for all but the worst devices. What they really want, pre phone plan, is access to apps including media.
  • Yeah...I'm holding onto my iPod touch which is old and out of space. I do have music on my phone also, but as you said (battery drain). I'm ready for a iPod killer.
  • This sounds like a grumpy old man post. And I should know as I'm a grumpy old man. C'mon Jerry, you can't honestly believe that global resources should be spent on bringing a Samsung iPod to market in 2021 and beyond? I can't tell you when was the last time I powered up any of the seven or eight iPods I have in a drawer collecting dust. Back in the day, we had an FM radio in the corner of the shop playing the local radio station. Now we have a few Google Home speakers playing YouTube Music playlists.
  • I still have my galaxy player.
    Battery needs replaced though.
  • For going running, my phone is absolutely NOT practical. Not only is it big and clunky for strapping to my arm, the constant connectivity means constant notifications interrupting my audiobooks. Instead I use my old iPod nano. I wish they still made current model has begun having trouble and I'm a bit uncertain about my future options.