I looked up the Samsung player. Interestingly although it was marked down to $260 and so about $50 cheaper than the most equal product from Apple the iPod Touch. However, it was marked down from $329.
Another aspect is that the major competitors in the smartphone market are more well known. Google, Motorola, Verizon etc are well known brands. They also have the money to get behind their product with advertisements. Other than maybe a few Zune commercials I don’t think I have ever seen an mp3 player ad outside of Apple’s. Creative was in the mp3 market before Apple, but didn’t have the money to dominate it like Apple did. And despite some offerings from others now, they are like you said too late and can’t compete with the ecosystem, which I imagine more people like than dislike.
Amazon? They always “mark down” from some price you can never find, the most I ever saw it listed for was just under $300, I paid $250. It’s a heck of a nice player.
True, nobody but Zune and iPod ever advertises. I did a lot of research for my MP3 buy, because I knew I wanted a 32GB and I knew that was going to be fairly pricey, and I don’t drop that kind of money without research. Good ol C|Net. And the first thing I learned doing my research was that there were about 10 times as many MP3 players as I thought. And then of course I wind up getting one that’s not even intended for the American market and can’t (at least earlier this year) be bought brick and mortar in America.