Today's DAP headlines:
We scoop up some details on PQI's mPack 500, take a look at the latest iOps DAP and witness the resurfacing of Mpio's HD400 and 500. Finally, there's a peculiar-looking MP3/CD player that goes by the name of Beond M800.
PQI set foot in the PMP market a couple of months ago - the mPack 800 was a moderately successful unit which offered a bit of everything at quite a steep price. The company is aiming for various types of customers right now: upcoming models include the pocket-friendly SD-expendable mTrix, the car-mountable (GPS-enabled) mPack 600 and finally the mPack 500. Little was known about the latter up till recently, but we managed to get our hands on most of the important details. The mP500 will include a 3.2MP camera (with digital zoom and flash light), a 5GB micro hard drive for storage purposes and a 2.2-inch color TFT that can display various movie and picture formats. On top of all of this, this device also supports a large array of music formats (among which are MP3, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, AAC and Atrac3)... But unfortunately, the sheer size of it all (comparable to that of a modern-age 20GB DAP) will probably scare away most of the potential buyers. Should come available within two months or so, although little is certain at this point.
It's likely that you've never heard of a South-Korean company called "iOps" before - one's never too old to learn, right? Anyway, these guys have compiled a small but interesting array of DAPs throughout the years. Next in line is a player called "Gyeok" (say what?) but we've dubbed it "the iOps". This unit seems to be the prime example of the Koreans getting nervous over the iPod nano's price levels. Despite a nice basic capacity of 2GB, "the iOps" only costs about 198.000 Korean Won (or $195) - that's really cheap to Korean standards. Notably cheaper than the 2GB nano even, while offering a 65k color OLED screen, MPEG-4 playback, voice recording, 17 hours worth of battery life per charge and a foldable USB pen.
Another South-Korean DAP manufacturer, DigitalWay/Mpio, has been doing quite well for months (in terms of export figures) but they kept their upcoming hard drive players hidden from the public eye all along. We managed to dig up some material on the HD400 and HD500, although little seems to have changed over time. Both units are stated to come with this 1.8" TFT-LCD Display (262k colors), play music as well as movies and offer some extra gimmicks like FM radio + recorder, line-in encoding, voice recording plus an alarm clock. The HD400 will come in 5 and 8GB flavors, whereas the HD500 will see 20GB and 40GB editions... if all goes well. Release dates are yet unclear, but we were told to "expect a launch around November".
And what have we here? An MP3/CD player? "Wow, that's really hot news! Those things are so 2001, man!" - well, wait till you've seen the design of the Beond M800. Let's just say that someone liked the shape of the lid so much, he clearly couldn't resist taking a bite out of it.
That's it's for today, folks!