I think it's funny how the alternative to the iPod looks like a cheap rip-off of an iPod. I don't think a company can make a decent competitor to the iPod. It's going to take a collaborative effort by many companies to create one series of MP3 players integrated well into one music service like the iPod+iTunes combination. I doubt that'll happen as each company thinks it can beat the iPod on its own.
"About 4 or 5 years ago, I bought a RCA LYRA. 40 gigs. It has a cassette to put in my car to listen to it there. It cost $159.95 It plays anything I put in it WMA, MP3 whatever."
RCA must be a stupid company. They release a 40 GB MP3 player for 160 when MP3 players are still relatively new, and what do they do? 5 years later, they release a 20 GB multimedia player for more than twice that price (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1943243,00.asp)! Sure, it can play video now, but my iPod can do so too and has a 30GB storage and cost only 300 dollars. Playing video isn't worth a slash in space and a double in price.