After initially being a little Sneaky McSecretive about its upcoming MP3 players, Samsung has officially announced the S2 Pebble, a screenless critter that retails for under AU$50.
The most obvious upside to this pebbly 2GB player is the bargain basement price. At $49, it's around the same street price as the similarly screenless 1GB Creative Zen Stone — or $40 cheaper than the 2GB iPod Shuffle.
As for the design, while the metallic purple, red and black finishes may be a little flashy for some tastes, the controls are nice and big, and the smooth circular shape is pleasing to palms.
The S2's compatibility with MP3, OGG and WMA formats is pretty standard, but the drag-and-drop music management is a decent feature for those sick of dealing with restrictive software.
The iPod Shuffle confirmed that there is still a market for screenless MP3 players, but the pendant design of the Pebble is not as sport-friendly as the clippable Apple contraption. With joggers and gym goers making up a sizable portion of the Shuffle's devotees, this could be a problem for Samsung.
The lanyard-style earphones could be a blessing or a curse, depending on whether you like to sport your tech around your neck like a trinket. Generally we're not fans of the lanyard look — having an MP3 player thwap against your sternum when you run for a bus is a bit of a grind.
The Pebble seems best suited to younger music lovers. With its flashing lights, pendant style and shiny coating, it's an object that seems fit to adorn the neck of a tyke rather than an adult.
We'll be getting the Pebble in for a full review in the coming weeks, so check back for the hands-on evaluation.