<Don’t hate the player, hate the game>
I’ll certainly concede that with larger sized players (8gb etc) the self-management that a file-tree system requires is impractical (and yes it is a step backwards - or the step before depending which way you’re looking at it).
However, within a size limit of 2gb there is a more frequent turnover of tracks on the player (with a larger sizes you just put on most of your collection), and the restrictions of the automatic categorising system become a lot more apparent.
If, for instance, I wish to listen to a short mix of songs by a single artist, followed by a mix album, I require a specific playlist to do so; furthermore choosing an album/artist/song will play that single selection then stop. These may sound like nitpicking to you all but it is these characteristics, which require the constant waiting on your player ready to choose the track you want to in advance, that caused me to reject the ipod craze.
Given that there is a growing monopoly in the mp3 player market, i’d expect the rivals NOT to conform; but as far as I can tell the only difference between ipods and everything else out on the market nowadays is the price and the wheely thing.
Sigh - Does anyone know how to fix a headphone jack and an led screen onto my usb stick?