Philips GoGear Connect offers Android-based iPod alternative

Philips GoGear ConnectWith the market seemingly rushing as one to attempt to out-do Apple’s popular iPad slate, it’s easy to forget that the technology for the device grew out of the company’s smaller iPod Touch device – but Philips is definitely aware of that, and is choosing to compete on a different level with the GoGear Connect.

Designed to offer everything you could want from a smartphone bar the phone, the 3.2″ device is the first Android-based competitor to Apple’s iOS-based iPod Touch – and the first music-centric Android device from Philips and features on the company’s blog.

Running Android 2.1, the specifications of the GoGear Connect are certainly pretty impressive: on-board GPS and compass means that the pre-installed Google Maps will be able to tell you exactly where you are, integral Wi-Fi provides the “Connect” portion of the name, and the 3.2″ 480×320 display is fairly high resolution, although unlikely to wow anyone who’s seen the iPhone 4′s retina-pixel display.

On the media front, the GoGear Connect is pegged to support MP3, WMA, M4A AAC, OGG, and FLAC audio files along with WMV, MP4, and AVI videos up to 720p. Photos are also supported in JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, and TIFF formats.

Where the device gets particularly interesting is in the inclusion of the full raft of mobile Google products – including access to the Android Market, allowing third-party applications to be installed on the device to increase its functionality in much the same way as the iPod Touch has the Apple App Store.

It’s an interesting device, for the simple reason that almost every other manufacturer is looking to make Android-based competitors to the iPad rather than the older iPod Touch. This may, however, give Philips an advantage: with fewer competitors, the company has a strong chance of taking sales away from Apple; equally, Philips runs the risk of attacking a market which already has a dominant, well-entrenched leader. Quite frankly, this battle could go either way – and as the lack of success for Microsoft’s iPod-like Zune has shown, taking on Apple in the mobile music market is never an easy thing.

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