In perhaps the most awkwardly titled tech press release ever, Samsung Mobile announced the launch of the new Samsung Galaxy Muse, a device which appears to have nothing to do with "CORRECTING and REPLACING and ADDING MULTIMEDIA" but everything to do with being a music player crossed with a smartphone accessory.
Say goodbye to iTunes?
While most handheld music players (and smartphone or tablets with music apps) sync with a PC or Mac music app, like iTunes or Banshee, the Samsung Galaxy Muse syncs with your Android phone itself. It uses the Muse Sync app, which Google Play says will install on devices like the Nexus 7 tablet but which Samsung says will only work with the Galaxy S II, Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note II smartphones.
Plug it in, turn it on
The pebble-shaped Muse connects to your Samsung phone via its headset jack. It doesn't have a screen, so you have to control it iPod Shuffle style, and use the Muse Sync app to see how much of its 4 GB of space are free and decide which playlists to sync. Since it only has those 4 GB, it can only hold a fraction of the music that can be put on the much more powerful smartphones.
Who is Samsung selling the Galaxy Muse to?
Samsung says "users can sync the songs they want and leave their phone behind," the usefulness of which may depend on whether or not you feel limited by having to bring your smartphone with you. The press release mentions its "wearable design and small form factor," and suggests taking it "in place of [your] smartphone ... at the gym or on the go."
What other gadgets are like the Galaxy Muse?
The most obvious comparison is to the iPod Shuffle, Apple's similarly tiny and screen-less portable music player. At $49, it costs the same as the Galaxy Muse (although a Droid-Life tipster found a $25 off coupon code for the Muse), but comes in seven different colors and has an embossed click-wheel controller instead of a flat and featureless surface. It requires you to use iTunes on a desktop PC or Mac, though.
On the upside
The Galaxy Muse's six hours of battery life may not be suitable for all-day listening, but may at least take the pressure off of a battery-hungry smartphone (so long as it's one of Samsung's flagship models). And as PCMag's Chloe Albanesius notes, "it's not very convenient to strap a 5.5-inch Galaxy Note II to your arm when you hit the gym."Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.