One of the great mysteries of consumer electronics at the moment is why Apple’s extremely popular iPod Touch has had so little competition. It’ll get some in September, when Philips plans to release a media player called the GoGear Connect. I saw it today at a Philips event; it’s not the same gizmo as one of the same name which Philips demoed last Fall at the IFA conference in Berlin.
Unlike Samsung’s announced-but-as-yet-unreleased Galaxy Player, the GoGear Connect doesn’t bear an uncanny resemblance to the iPod Touch. At 3.2″, its capacitive screen is smaller, and a largish percentage of the front is devoted to hardware buttons. It has Wi-Fi, but doesn’t sport any cameras.
Philips says that the GoGear will run Android 2.3 and (unlike many Android devices that aren’t phones) will come with the full Android Market. It’ll have 8GB of storage for $179.99, fifty bucks less than the comparable iPod Touch.
I like the idea of iPod Touch alternatives and am happy to see Philips get into the game–but I still can’t help but think that a Windows Phone 7 “Zune Touch“–with the WP7 interface and Microsoft’s music and movie services–would make for the most compelling Touch rival. I wonder if Microsoft is at least considering the idea?