It's an iPod touch without content.
The closed ecosystem is Apple's bread-and-butter. Their goal is to supply almost every end-user need. From hardware to software and content. That's why we have Apple TV. That's why we have the App Store. And that's why we have iTunes. These services each make at least one other Apple product more valuable by their existence.
Android is a very different beast. Google has no desire in controlling a tight web of interlocking services. They provide the OS, and leave pretty much everything else up to the manufacturers and 3rd party developers. Both strategies work well, but they also have very hard limits.
Apple products simply won't work well for anyone who needs total control over their device or wants to run non-approved software. From Mac to iPad, Apple gadgets are a little more limited (and a little more reliable) than their counterparts.
Android appeals to many different customers, but it can't offer the sort of comprehensive support that iOS users enjoy. Which is why the Samsung Galaxy Player is probably doomed. This iPod touch-"killer" is basically a Galaxy S without a cellular radio.
I know what Samsung's thinking. They've sold five million Galaxy S phones. People love the hardware.
But beyond the hardware, what does the Galaxy Player have to offer? It'll be shown off at CES, so it may be that Sammy has some new service to reveal there. If they don't, we're stuck staring at a premium media player without access to iTunes, or even Microsoft's Zune library. All the cost of a smartphone without the data or ability to make calls. All the functionality of an iPod touch without access to iTunes.
And let's not forget that the iPad is starting to cannibalize iPod sales. Apple's iPod sales were down 17% year-over-year last quarter. And since the iPod is 3/4ths of the media player market, this represents a fairly harsh decline for the whole category.
So Samsung is moving to compete with the most successful media player franchise with no content distribution service, at a time when the whole device category is starting to ebb. Unless they've got an iTunes "killer" loaded in the pipe for CES 2011, I don't have high hopes for how this will all shake out.