Dell tests music player to renew iPod battle: report

Chairman and CEO of Dell Inc., Michael S. Dell delivers his keynote address at the 2007 International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, Nevada January 9, 2007. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

BANGALORE (Reuters) - In recent months, personal computer maker Dell Inc., has been testing a digital music player that could go on sale as early as September, the Wall Street Journal newspaper said, citing several Dell officials.

Dell’s new foray would put it into an Apple-led market that has defied assaults.

Companies like Microsoft Corp and Sony Corp have tried -- and failed -- to make a dent in the market dominated by Apple’s iPod players and iTunes store, the Journal said.

The music player which Dell has been testing features a small navigation screen and basic button controls to scroll through music play lists, the Journal reported.

It would connect to online music services via a Wi-Fi Internet connection, and Dell would likely price the model at less than $100, the Journal said. Dell’s first foray into the music market in 2003 was a huge disappointment. It withdrew from the music-player market after its DJ Ditty player failed to make major inroads.

This time, if the company goes ahead with the music player, the strategy is different, Michael Tatelman, Dell’s vice president of consumer sales said, according to the paper.

Instead of simply selling a piece of hardware tied to someone else’s music service, as it did in 2003, 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, the paper added.

Reporting by Purwa Naveen Raman in Bangalore