Batten down the hatches boys, here it comes: the inevitable backlash against Apple's iPod nano. We've covered a few nano killers over the last couple of weeks, but things are getting ridiculous. This is how the inventor of the wheel must have felt: one minute he was trundling about happily in his stone-wheeled contraption, riding through the village powered by a stegosaurus, the next thing he was in a traffic jam with fifty other clones of his car.
We're all familiar with Crave's personal favourite for the top-spot, the Samsung YP-Z5, but others have joined the batallions laying siege to Cupertino. In order of likelyhood-to-obliterate-Apple, there's the SanDisk e200 and c100 -- both use small flash drives and an iPod-like interface. Next up there's the Cowon iAudio U3 -- postively reviewed by us last week. Finally, the Thanko Tpod Neo does away with pretence and pays homage to the naming conventions of Apple as well as their product styling. Not to mention the dark underbelly of the industry that is manufacturing true clones of the nano -- their ethics too flimsy to even disguise blatent copying with a few design changes.
Humanitarians may wonder why copying has been given such a bad rap in modern times. After all, almost all human endeavour is the end result of centuries of collected experience and understanding. If someone had patented the paintbrush, what then of Da Vinci, or Picasso? Still, we frown on these clones, if for no reason other than boredom. If you can't be inventive in this emerging market, why not try your hand in a different field? Dental equipment, perhaps.
The iPod nano itself was dull after a month of incessant media chatter. What makes manufacturers think that replicas of the original will raise a smile? -CS