iRock!830. Flash memory (128 mb) = no moving parts = NO FREEZES EVER if you're running - and I've been running with it for the past three weeks - rollerblading, doing carpentry, replacing your roof, rowing, lifting weights, stairmastering, having sex, whatever.
For $93, stores/plays 30-35 songs. That's three CDs, by the way, more than enough for a long workout - why does anyone need the ability to carry around "10,000 of your favorite songs," as the iPod ad copy proclaims? I'm reminded of Donald Trump's wedding to the late, lamented, now forgotten Marla Maples. Trump was quoted in People magazine as saying "I'm inviting 5,000 of my close personal friends." Memo to the Donald: you don't have ANY close personal friends!
The sound is as clear and beautiful as the iPod's; comes with earphones that are more comfortable and stay put better than iPod's; works with Windows and iTunes, and plays mp3 files, though not the proprietary AAC files that iTunes now downloads and play only on an iPod (bad decision, Steve).
Runs 30 hours on 1 AA flashlight batttery, therefore no need for a charger or electricity; beautiful design, easy to use, less than half the size and weight of an iPod; oh, yeah, it also has a built-in FM radio, with 20 presets, so therefore you've got access to unlimited content. THE Christmas gift of choice for someone you really like who's really cool. I bought one for my best friend: he LOVES it!
The iRock!860 just came out: identical to the 830 except for twice the storage (256 mb = 60-65 songs) and a higher price ($140 at amazon.com). Still, that's less than half of the price of the cheapest iPod.