I can't speak to the pros and cons of marine vs. home speakers and the like, but I can speak about portable mp3 players.
While it is true that many ipods crash I do not believe it is endemic. You’ve got to figure that there are millions of ipods out there and no one is blogging about their fully functioning ipod. I’m headed to the ski mountain this weekend to start the 3rd season with my ipod. I wear it in my breast pocket while snowboarding, it gets damp and knocked around quite a bit, but keeps on rocking!
Are all mp3 players the same? No.
How much music do you have? If it’s in the 5GB (~1200 songs) range you should look at players with flash memory instead of a “normal” high capacity hard-drive. (no moving parts with flash memory).
Another huge consideration, and this is why Apple rules the world in this market, is interface. That is to say, how do you – the user – interact with the device AND how do you – the user – interact with the software on your home computer that syncs with the device.
Itunes is so ridiculously intuitive and easy to use (as are most things Apple) that even luddites are embracing digital music. The ipod interface, though a little awkward for the first 10 minutes, is also intuitive and easy to use.
There are other (cheaper) players out there, but I would suggest using them first. Go in the store, pick it up and play with it. Not for 30 seconds, but for a few minutes. Can you navigate around easily? See if you can do the same with the software you will have to use on your computer…
Sigh, so – to answer your question: Yes. You can accomplish the same thing with other manufacturer’s mp3 players. But I would suggest against thinking they are all the same and grabbing the bargain.
I am in no way affiliated with Apple or any of it’s subsidiaries.
Man, I gotta get back to work. Coming Mr. Jobs!!