It's taken awhile, but some of the more promising challenges to established media players appear to be coming from some unlikely sources. Last week, for example, we noted that a lot of gadget blogs and other industry watchers were impressed with the "Sansa Xpress" as a potential challenger to the iPod Shuffle. Now, many of those same people are taking similar note of the G14 from Spain's Blu:sens as succeeding where Microsoft's Zune has failed.
It has two things that stand out in particular: Wi-Fi and no DRM. OhGizmo explains the significance this way: "This means, in case you're not following, that you'll be able to share songs with your friends, wirelessly, and let them keep them. Not only that, but you'll be able to share all the songs in your playlist, unlike the Zune, which allows record labels to dictate which songs can be shared."
The rest of the specs are fairly ordinary, such as a 2-inch color screen, Bluetooth and storage up to 2GB. But it's the other features that will get Microsoft's attention--and have already gotten ours. By comparison, the Zune just seems to wander around aimlessly.