Dell developing another line of MP3 players?

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I still have my 20GB Dell DJ (the one on the left up there). It’s been sitting in a box marked “To Sell on eBay” for, oh, at least three years along with my Nokia 770 Internet Tablet, my first-generation Nintendo DS, and a couple of ink cartridges for an old Lexmark printer. Bad news for me, as it appears the value of my old Dell music player might plummet when Dell’s new MP3 players hit the market. Instead of getting $20 for my old Dell DJ, I might only get $18 or $19.

That’s right, Reuters is reporting that Dell “has been testing a digital music player that could go on sale as early as September.” Actually, Reuters is reporting that the Wall Street Journal said all that stuff, but the Wall Street Journal wants people to pay for its (ad supported) web content. I’d rather “rent” a “videotape” instead.

The music player will apparently feature a Wi-Fi connection, a “small navigation screen” which seems to indicate a touchscreen, and a price tag of under $100.

So will it work? Maybe.

Dell is big, and these days it’s as much about the hardware as it is about the content deals you’re able to strike. Picture this, a Dell MP3 player with Wi-Fi connection directly into, say, Napster or Rhapsody, allowing you to download as much music as you want for $10 or $15 per month. Better yet, Dell might just be big enough and crazy enough to start its own online music store called DellTunes or D-Tunes or whatever.

Alas, it seems that “Dell is working on software for a range of portable PCs that will let users download and organize music and movies from various online sources” which looks and sounds great on paper but might turn out to be a logistical nightmare in real life. If Dell can pull it off, though, and the company makes an easy-to-use MP3 player, it might have a shot. It’s a crowded field, though, so come out swinging, Dell.

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