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iPlagiary
March 13, 2005 6:38 AM   Subscribe

So, Taiwanese firm Luxpro have released a clone of the iPod Shuffle, but with an FM tuner and a voice recorder built in. Let the comparison commence!
posted by armoured-ant (65 comments total)

 
I hear Luxpro's next product is a community blog called metafilterrr. They'll be charging $4 for membership.
posted by gwint at 6:51 AM on March 13, 2005


What an amazing coincidence!
posted by ColdChef at 7:05 AM on March 13, 2005


I want something that will play the damned MP4s I've downloaded from iTunes. And I DON'T feel like converting them to MP3s.
posted by coelecanth at 7:36 AM on March 13, 2005


Witihout the Apple brand they got nothing...
posted by srboisvert at 7:36 AM on March 13, 2005


Thursday, 12:54 PM, Engadget: The Super Shuffle, huh?
Thursday, 4:55 PM, MacNN: LuxPro showcases iPod shuffle knockoff
Friday, 2:56 AM, Gizmodo: Luxpro Introduces shuffle knockoff
Sunday, 6:35 AM, Engadget: The week in Engadget (repeats story)
Sunday, 7:43 AM, Slashdot: iPod Shuffle Lookalike Hits CeBIT
Sunday, 10:03 AM, MetaFilter: iPlagiary

Huh. I guess people do read Engadget's weekly roundups. I'm kinda curious--what other sites did this insignificant story traverse before it hit Slashdot? Did Engadget get the link from somewhere else, or did it originate there?
posted by jbrjake at 7:44 AM on March 13, 2005


Ah, the wonderful FM radio feature. Somebody has got to tell product designers that, with very few exceptions (Boston, S.F.,) for the kind of people who buy MP3 players, there hasn't been FM radio in the United States worth listening to for about, oh, 15 years.
posted by mojohand at 7:48 AM on March 13, 2005


mojohand: there have been some great TV shows at the local gym that broadcast on FM only.
posted by null terminated at 7:55 AM on March 13, 2005


Mmm.. I like the look of the new Sony ipod shufle clones - like little jewels.
posted by laukf at 7:55 AM on March 13, 2005


True, mojohand, but if you have an iTrip, you could listen to your iShuffle through your Super Shuffle (you know, just to be iRonic).
posted by ba at 7:59 AM on March 13, 2005


for the kind of people who buy MP3 players, there hasn't been FM radio in the United States worth listening to for about, oh, 15 years.

SHHH!! mojohand, quiet-down! Clearchannel or Comcast might hear you, and start to flood the market with the giveaway of impaired Taiwanese imports that play only smooth-jazz or AOR alt-rock with commercial interruptions.
posted by vhsiv at 8:04 AM on March 13, 2005


But can you use the iTrip on the Super shuffle to listen to FM radio on another FM radio?
posted by BigPicnic at 8:05 AM on March 13, 2005


I hear another country is working on a Super Duper Shuffle that's all that plus a potato peeler.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:05 AM on March 13, 2005


I'm not sure what makes you think this be for a "clone". They're tasty website tells all you the good things.

"LUXPRO CORPORATION is recognized by a technological group. They work in researching, designing, and innovation products for over 30 years. LUXPRO always insists to provide you comfortable customer services and high quality products to match your requirements."
posted by jeremias at 8:18 AM on March 13, 2005


I can't wait until someone flips out about this. For true Apple initiates, this is probably akin to someone to making a cheaper knockoff Bible with additional chapters and all instances of "Jesus" replaced with "Shitfucker."
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:29 AM on March 13, 2005


What a friend we have in Shitfucker.
posted by ColdChef at 9:10 AM on March 13, 2005


Apple to stop CeBIT presentation of iPod shuffle clone
posted by Silky Slim at 9:28 AM on March 13, 2005


Luxpro need to ask themselves, "What Would Shitfucker Do?"
posted by runkelfinker at 9:29 AM on March 13, 2005


Steve Jobs: "You don't want FM. It's old and crappy. No FM for you!"

Steve Jobs: "You don't want to use your iPod in your car. No, that will never happen. So no built-in FM transmitter for you!"

Steve Jobs: "You don't want to use OGG. No OGG for you!"

Hey, Steve, here's a tip: let your customers tell you what they want, not the other way around. This just serves 'em right. When you don't listen to your customers, they'll find someone who will.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:43 AM on March 13, 2005


Hey, Steve, here's a tip: let your customers tell you what they want

They do. But they also know that the slashdot "i want everything for free!" crowd isn't their target market.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:59 AM on March 13, 2005


Mojo

Well listening to pre-recorded news on a player tends to keep one a tad behind
posted by MrLint at 10:26 AM on March 13, 2005


I've never understood the need for an FM transmitter myself. I guess it would be helpful to check on sports scores/news or some such (but isn't that stuff mostly on the AM band anyway?). But most of the time I'm listening to my iPod, it's on some form of transportation (subway, airplane), where FM radio isn't practical...

That said, remember the fiasco Apple had with the whole "non-replaceable battery" in the original iPods? At least there was a way around that by opening up the case and buying a battery yourself.

But it looks like you can't really open up the Shuffle? I assume Apple will have some sort of battery replacement program in place when these start dying (i.e., just send you a new shuffle for some sort of replacement fee). I wonder what Luxpro's policy will be?
posted by RockBandit at 10:30 AM on March 13, 2005


Space Coyote, wtf? I payed good money for an iAudio M3, because it has ogg support and lots of other good stuff that iPods don't. I would certainly have considered an iPod if it actually had features I care about.
posted by kenko at 10:39 AM on March 13, 2005


But they also know that the slashdot "i want everything for free!" crowd isn't their target market.

How absolutely irrelevant.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:52 PM on March 13, 2005


Space Coyote writes "Hey, Steve, here's a tip: let your customers tell you what they want

"They do. But they also know that the slashdot 'i want everything for free!' crowd isn't their target market."


Opinion leaders who recommend hardware to friends and family? Alienate them! ALIENATE THEM!
posted by orthogonality at 1:22 PM on March 13, 2005


orthogonality: You've got to be kidding. Check out the original iPod thread on Slashdot. 1000+ comments about what a ridiculous, overpriced, DRM laden, open source ignorin' piece of junk it was. Let the Slashdot crowd build their mp3 players from spare parts from their modded PCs, but their parents and non-geek friends will continue to buy Apple...
posted by gwint at 1:37 PM on March 13, 2005


Oh, and c_d, I imagine the number of consumers who are looking for OGG support on their music players minus the number who are willing to pay a premium for great design hovers right around zero.
posted by gwint at 1:40 PM on March 13, 2005


Let the Slashdot crowd build their mp3 players from spare parts from their modded PCs

Better yet, let the Korean (/Korean/Korean/Korean/Korean/Korean/Korean), Chinese, Japanese and Taiwanese manufacturers reap all the profits from the /. geeks et. al. that would like these features and would be happy to pay for them.

What's that? Evidence? Burn him!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:53 PM on March 13, 2005


Isn't it a little late to be pointing out the OBVIOUS FATAL FLAWS in the iPod business model? Apple launched the thing, it crashed and burned, and the company closed up shop two years ago, and I rather think the story's done at this point.

Oh wait, I'm sorry, that's actually just the opposite of what happened. Mea culpa.
posted by aaronetc at 2:04 PM on March 13, 2005


c_d: Any one of those companies' mp3 player market share is a rounding error compared to Apple's. My point wasn't that OGG players don't exist, just that they are a niche market that Steve Jobs doesn't have to worry about. At all.
posted by gwint at 2:15 PM on March 13, 2005


My point wasn't that OGG players don't exist, just that they are a niche market that Steve Jobs doesn't have to worry about. At all.

Funny, I thought their worries were precisely what this thread was about. I mean, if these competitors are nothing more than a rounding error in comparison to the mighty Apple, why should they care if these peons copy from them?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:37 PM on March 13, 2005


According to this Apple has 64% of the MP3 player market.
posted by euphorb at 2:58 PM on March 13, 2005


36 rounds down to zero.
posted by kenko at 3:03 PM on March 13, 2005


And, you know, I would pay extra for good design, but I wouldn't let good design trump technical merit unless the bad design were really bad. And since a significant proportion of my music is in ogg format, "really bad" would pretty much have to be "unusably bad".
posted by kenko at 3:04 PM on March 13, 2005



According to this Apple has 64% of the MP3 player market.


Apple made the Tungsten T3 Palm?? That's news to me!
posted by daninnj at 3:06 PM on March 13, 2005


Funny, I thought their worries were precisely what this thread was about.

No, this thread is about a company robbing Apple's IP.

I mean, if these competitors are nothing more than a rounding error in comparison to the mighty Apple, why should they care if these peons copy from them?

Because Luxpro are thieves, and even petty crimes sometimes need to be prosecuted.

36 rounds down to zero

None of the companies that c_d mentioned are major players in the mp3 player space.
posted by gwint at 3:16 PM on March 13, 2005


gwint, did Steve Jobs rescue your child from a burning building or what? I remind you that this entity that you have a defensive boner for is a corporation. US courts treat it like a person, but it isn't, so it will never love you back.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:24 PM on March 13, 2005


Do's: Steal from corporations
Don'ts: Love corporations

Thanks for clearing that up Mayor.
posted by gwint at 4:47 PM on March 13, 2005


Is it really disallowed to steal a design? Real question. I thought it wasn't.
posted by kenko at 4:53 PM on March 13, 2005


Do's: Steal from corporations
Don'ts: Love corporations


Where exactly did I advocate stealing? I merely accused you of caring TOO MUCH about a corporation. Like you somehow thought that paying for Apple products made you cool or smart or something and therefore Apple deserved your love for selling stuff to you.

But as I write it I see that no one could possibly think that because it's stupid. It would be like someone patting themselves on the back for buying food at Trader Joe's and getting defensive when someone sold a similar product.

But seriously, where did I advocate stealing?
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:01 PM on March 13, 2005


Sorry, since your comment made so little sense (there's nothing in my posts that express particular love for Apple), I could only infer that you were offended by the fact that I had defended the right of a company to defend its intellectual property.
posted by gwint at 5:26 PM on March 13, 2005


(there's nothing in my posts that express particular love for Apple)

Oh, really?

...minus the number who are willing to pay a premium for great design...

Let the Slashdot crowd build their mp3 players from spare parts from their modded PCs...

You're so in love with Steve Jobs, but you're in denial. Don't be. Slavish devotion is beautiful-- salvation can only be found in comsumption and you are what you purchase.

posted by Mayor Curley at 5:51 PM on March 13, 2005


What's the big deal here ?

Flash-based MP3 players were out a couple of years before the Shuffle.

If anything, Apple's stealing their intellectual property.
posted by rfs at 5:55 PM on March 13, 2005


>why should they care if these peons copy from them?

Trade Dress is illegal and for a good reason.
posted by skallas at 6:17 PM on March 13, 2005


bah get an archos. Every time one of these apple love threads pops up i want to explode..... apple equates with drm and slack feature set.... archos is a sexy beast in comparison
posted by sourbrew at 6:19 PM on March 13, 2005


I just thought I'd weigh in with a deeply Mac-loving perspective. The more direct competion Apple has, product-by-product, the happier I am. This is clearly not how Steve feels. But I welcome this (kind of hilarious) product; I'm one of the apparently three people in the world who wouldn't ever consider an iPod unless it has inbuilt recording and an FM receiver.

Unfortunately, it's too late, as I've bought once-every-three-years pocket gadget already. But I especially love that the iWhatsit looks just like a Shuffle.
posted by mwhybark at 6:22 PM on March 13, 2005


I want to know how much they charge to get me to the airport. Oh wait that's Super Shuttle
posted by antron at 6:48 PM on March 13, 2005


According to this Apple has 64% of the MP3 player market.

Apple made the Tungsten T3 Palm?? That's news to me!


What? Apple made Tungstens?

Woohoo! I'm cool!
posted by Samizdata at 6:49 PM on March 13, 2005


so... how much does this cost? though I doubt it will be broadly exportable from Taiwan (which has almost no IP law, I'm told), it seems to herald the day when every cheap-ass USB memory stick will double as an MP3 player (provided that the battery is cheap; maybe a supercap or the like would work instead?)
posted by monocyte at 7:50 PM on March 13, 2005


I payed good money for an iAudio M3, because it has ogg support and lots of other good stuff that iPods don't. ... a significant proportion of my music is in ogg format

If you hadn't put your music into some weird-ass format, you could choose your music player based on things that matter, like usability, rather than on things that don't matter, like whether it plays your weird-ass format.
posted by kindall at 8:10 PM on March 13, 2005


hey, think differently?
posted by kliuless at 8:52 PM on March 13, 2005


OK, so this thing comes out about 6 weeks after the Apple shuffle. It must have taken at least a couple of months to design, tool up and build invetory of this rip off. This means that the ODM contracted to Apple to make their shuffle must have happily spilled the beans sometime last year.

Apple must be so pissed off.
posted by marvin at 9:52 PM on March 13, 2005


I payed good money for an iAudio M3, because it has ogg support and lots of other good stuff that iPods don't. ... a significant proportion of my music is in ogg format

If you hadn't put your music into some weird-ass format, you could choose your music player based on things that matter, like usability, rather than on things that don't matter, like whether it plays your weird-ass format.


Weird-ass? Do some research. I think you'll find out that OGG is rapidly becoming a standard media format for digital audio, especially in the gaming industry.
posted by Samizdata at 9:57 PM on March 13, 2005


I smell a lawsuit a brewin' and I'm curious about battery life, but it's cute. I can't get one though, because I have an iTunes based music collection, complete with music and audiobooks purchased from iTMS and Audible.com. If they hacked it well enough that iTunes could load it up and make it play my stuff, I'd buy one and check it out.

To the ogg users, I just want to thank you all for making me remember why I stopped reading the comments on slashdot. Your music is in a weird-ass format with a stupid name, get over it.
posted by mosch at 2:19 AM on March 14, 2005


As a complete non techie (ogg wha?) I have to say the appeal of the ipod for me is that I can put a lot of music on it and it fits in my pocket. I travel a lot for extended periods of time and used to take a large CD case and walkman and the ipod is a huge improvement. If I wanted to listen to the radio, I'd buy a $10 FM walkman thing. If I wanted to record myself talking I'd use my dictaphone. I'd also never spend that much money for a player like the shuffle, it's the storage capability on the bigger ipods that makes them so attractive.
posted by fshgrl at 3:30 AM on March 14, 2005


I used to rip my stuff into ogg. Then I bought an MP3 stereo for my car, which doesn't support ogg. So now I have a collection that's a mixture of ogg and mp3. Ogg playback was certainly an issue for me when I was choosing a music player. I went for the iRiver H320.

There's no doubt in my mind that the LuxPro Super Shuffle is going to get stomped on by the lawyers. It's about as blatent a case of copying as you'll ever see.
posted by salmacis at 5:46 AM on March 14, 2005




Is it really disallowed to steal a design? Real question. I thought it wasn't.


People can file "design patents." and apple probably has. They've stopped companies from selling iMac clones back in the day, but they might have more trouble with these guys being in Taiwan.
posted by delmoi at 5:49 AM on March 14, 2005


OGG is the only music format you can legaly create products with without paying licensing fees to someone. Just thought I'd point that out.
posted by delmoi at 5:53 AM on March 14, 2005


Feh. OGG is a non-proprietary open source format meant to replace the licensed audio compression versions (like MP3). Unfortunately, like PNG and MNG it was a great idea that didn't get much attention outside of the techie crowd. When Grandma makes a web page, she uses GIF and JPG, and when Grandma downloads music she wants those MP3s. (Or perhaps AAC/MP4, if her cappuccino-glasses wearing grandson hooked her up with an iMac.)

It might be a better format, but it's lack of ubiquity sort of makes it not better. Kind of like having all your music on CD in 1986... does you a fat lot of good when your buddy doesn't have anything except a tape deck, does it?

Apple right now doesn't have to care about OGG. Apple only has to care about whatever they choose to put into their players. They're the Microsoft of the portable media player right now, and they're enjoying it. When you're on top of the heap, people will take potshots at you. This SuperShuffle is one such potshot. Might be a flash in the pan that never sees the light of day due to massive lawsuits, but hey it might also change the way Apple makes the iPods. Whenever anyone has a good idea in the PC world, Microsoft buys them out and either integrates or buries the product. Apple might well do the same here.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:54 AM on March 14, 2005


If you hadn't put your music into some weird-ass format, you could choose your music player based on things that matter, like usability, rather than on things that don't matter, like whether it plays your weird-ass format.

You're right. File size and sound quality don't matter. Austere cod-modernist design matters. How silly of me. And of course you're right, the iPod is the only usable media player out there—everything else is a royal pain in the ass to use.

I don't think Grandma wants mp3s. She doesn't give two shits what format it's in, as long as it works. It's the constraint of what your player will play that makes you care what format something's in; if you have one that plays more formats, you can care less.
posted by kenko at 8:07 AM on March 14, 2005


Because Luxpro are thieves, and even petty crimes sometimes need to be prosecuted.

Do we really have to go through this again? It's not theft, it's trade-dress infringement, which is something entirely different.
posted by bshort at 10:12 AM on March 14, 2005


But really, how hard would it be to throw an AM/FM tuner into the iPod? It's already a small form factor, and with the iPod's display (Shuffle excluded) and the handy touch-dial, it'd be a snap to turn the iPod into a radio. But I'm guessing that isn't exactly what iPod buyers are looking for...

I know I wish I could switch my iPod and get the news/weather/NPR once in a while, but I guess I could go buy a $15 miniature tuner to take along if I really needed that stuff.
posted by Down10 at 10:23 AM on March 14, 2005


Sorry.

Because Luxpro are trade-dress infringers, and even trade-dress infringement sometimes needs to be prosecuted.
posted by gwint at 10:39 AM on March 14, 2005


how hard would it be to throw an AM/FM tuner into the iPod?

FM would have been trivial for the iPod, notsomuch for the iChuckle (AM requires a long-ass antenna). As many manufacturers have already shown. But FM is old-school, and Apple is cutting-edge, man. Why would you want to listen to the radio when you could just download the songs from their happy-fun online music store experience.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:14 AM on March 14, 2005


I got myself a Muvo Micro and love it to pieces. Small, light, well designed buttons/jog dial, has a LCD, FM tuner, FM record, voice record, great sound quality, line in, and runs on AAAs (a rechargeable AAA lasts about 17 hours).

My only complaints are that it comes with unattractive earbuds, requires a cable to transfer media, and doesn't support ogg - but it was the same price as a shuffle and since I don't like kool-aid, it was a no-brainer choice.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:44 AM on March 14, 2005


Not that anyone will see this, but it looks like the whole damn thing was a hoax.
posted by gwint at 1:57 PM on March 21, 2005


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