Real launched Rhapsody which is an iTunes competitor. More recently they have debuted their first Rhapsody MP3 Player. It’s a SanDisk Sansa with the Rhapsody name.
I’m still not sure about how to use Rhapsody but I understand enough to give it a sort of review.
Firstly, there doesn’t appear to be a Mac version of the rhapsody software. I don’t even think some of the features are supported by anything other than Windows XP. Although saying this I think you can use the web interface to download music using a Mac.
Secondly, I find all the options for listening to music confusing. You pay a subscription for the music with one of their packages. Then, you (depending on the package) can stream any music from the service, or pay to download tracks. Plus listen to online radio and other things. This is way too complicated for me. All I want to do is download music by paying for an album at a time (which iTunes does). Or in the case of eMusic, I want to pay a subscription to buy all the stuff I’ve seen and liked, then cancel the subscription.
The Sansa player by SanDisk may be a nice MP3 player, but why does it have to look so bad? I mean you can’t copy the iPod, but why can’t it look better than it does. It looks bulky and un-stylish, and a long way from the sleek ipod nano.
So in general it must be doing something right if it’s popular but I still can’t see how this can compare to iTunes in style, simplicity or features.
One more thing. It’s US only. Great stuff Real….. great stuff….. I guess this means even Napster is better than Real. Though it is a pretty close race.