Do you still wear those button badges with an image of your favorite hipster indie band emblazoned across it? Really? Now, whoever makes them can throw in that band’s music along with the image on the Playbutton, a pin-back promotional button with a built-in music player.
If that sounds like a silly idea, it gets worse. Since piracy is rampant, they provided no straightforward way to access the storage on the device, so you can’t copy the music to your iPod or even replace it if it sucks. The controls are restricted to Play/Pause, Skip and Volume, too, so you’re stuck with the same loop of songs for eternity and your only option is to press skip in each of the nine bad tracks to listen to that catchy one with the horns and the sing-along chorus.
As you may have suspected, the Playbutton isn’t intended to be sold retail. Instead, it’s marketed in bulk, so bands and businesses can use it as promotional merchandise. With the holidays coming, expect at least a couple of these to be printed with a business logo and loaded with Christmas songs (along with a track or two of the company’s radio ad).
The button looks like a regular pin-back badge (4.5 cm diameter, 0.7 cm thick) when stuck to your lapel, so your friends will just think you’re a regular hipster who wears throwback accessories to look cool. All controls are located on the stainless steel back panel, so no one can see it from the front. Except, if they look closer, they might notice your earphone jack sticking out of the side of the disc, right on the combined 3.5mm/power slot (it has its own rechargeable battery).
Is the Powerbutton a cool idea? Definitely. It could be a perfect gym music player, for instance, loaded with a mix of tracks for your workout and a spanking graphic in front, and conveniently attached to any part of your clothing. With the likely expense for a music player, though, not a lot of businesses (not to mention indie bands) can probably give this away for free. No pricing was given, but it should be available before the end of the month.