Some of you may actually remember the SongPro
, originally to be called the SongBoy
, but for those who don't, let me give a little introduction:
It's a year or so ago, and the dot-com crash has not yet occured. It is an era where a new idea might be born in the morning, and before the close of the day a newly formed company formed around this idea will be announcing it's upcoming IPO. Investors throw venture capital to companies often for the sole reason that what they hope to sell in the future sounds cool.
Somewhere, someone must have said "Man, why carry a seperate device just for the purpose of playing mp3's? Why not just add a module to some existing portable device that will allow it to play mp3's?" Which portable device, you may ask? In this case, the highly popular, nearly ubiquitous portable gaming system we all know and love, Nintendo's Game Boy. That's right, just by put a cartridge in the little box you already carry around to play games, slap in some headphones, and presto! Your own portable jukebox. And thus, the SongBoy was born...
Almost. There were, to put it lightly, a few problems. The company had the idea, they had the name, they had the website, and they even had some publicity. It seemed everything was running smoothly. But apparently, they didn't have Nintendo's permission. And the name "SongBoy" apparently infringed on Nintendo's trademark, and so before the new company could even get around to making some units (and thus making some money), they had to go to court.
At some point, they came to an agreement: Nintendo would stop bothering them, and they would change their product's name to the SongPro. However, by now the beginning's of the dot-com crash were beginning to set in, and the portable mp3 player market was getting deluged with new products. However, ever optimistic, the SongPro people kept pushing on. Their website said the expected shipping date was Winter, 2000; and other signs on the purchasing page showed a colorful "Countdown to Christmas". The purchase page didn't work yet, but that would be corrected as soon as production began; after all, a new company doesn't need the bad press that comes from not fulfilling orders.
Well, winter eventually melted and became spring; spring came, and then eventually became summer. Now summer is starting to think about calling it quits, and it won't be too much longer until fall steps in. Yet SongPro.Com's order page never began working, because no units were ever made. The website is still up (although it hasn't been updated in ages) I, for one, figured the company had been forced to bite the bullet, and so it was with little hope that I sent a short email to their support address, asking if the idea would ever become reality, and if the SongBoy would ever go on sale. I was shocked to receive a reply within a few hours, fairly late at night.
yes, hopefully it will soon. Soon being a couple more months, no solid date. It all depends on investors stepping up to get the manufacturing off the ground so we can fill the massive purchase orders we have. Investment capital dried up with the dot-com bust and now is exponentially more difficult to obtain.
So who knows? Perhaps one day listening to digital music will be as simple as switching from the latest Zelda game to SongPro, even if there may be smaller/cheaper mp3 players out there. Personally, I think it'd be way cool, and I hope they manage to get things going. Good Luck.
Update: (Thanks to generic-man for the info) Years later, the SongPro actually did come out. It cost between $75 and $100 when it came out, which makes it rather expensive for an mp3 player. Especially considering it also requires the purchase of a Game Boy. Furthermore, that makes it a whole lot bigger than any other mp3 player. The icing on the cake is that the software required to use it is apparently damn near unusable. Thus, the saga of the SongPro finally reaches its end.