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Today's DAP headlines:

JVC wants to join the game - their 6GB Alneo XA-HD500 doesn't really make too much of an impression, though. A bit more baffling are the final specifications for Digital Cube's i-Station V.43, which seems capable of doing anything but recording videos. Sony is up to something with their new Walkman series (NW-A1000/3000) - meanwhile, Creative is acting all clueless again by sneaking in the MuVo Chameleon. We also take a quick look at the iMod—an iPod hack that should be able to please audiophiles.

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Believe it or not, but we already covered the Alneo XA-HD500 by JVC a while ago. Japanese AV Watch took some additional pictures of this bland 6GB DAP that doesn't do much except for playing MP3s (and WMA DRM files) and being enormously expensive for no particular reason. Maybe it's the "K2 technology + CC convertor & Digital Active Hyper Bass" driving up price levels to some 350 Euro? We can but guess.

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

Digital Cube's i-Station series has seen an ever-growing number of demanding fans, mainly because of a large variety of supported file formats. It's no different for the company's upcoming i-Station V.43. You got a pen and a piece of paper handy? Good, here we go: support for MPEG 1/2/4, WMV7, WMV8, WMV9, XVID, DIVX (video), MP3, WMA, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, WAV (audio) plus JPEG, PNG and GIF (pictures) is included in the V.43's package deal. On top of that, there's an English-Korean (and vice versa) dictionary, a file reader that can handle PDFs as well as a few MS Office documents, an 8 hour battery life for videos (15 hour for audio), this juicy 4.3 inch screen (16.7m colors), SPDIF-out and a magic fairy that combs your hair just after you've woken up from your beauty sleep. The V.43 supposedly costs about 500k Korean Won (roughly 495 USD)—an exact release date is not known at this point.

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Looking back at last week, Sony's introduction of their new Walkman DAPs probably wasn't the best of ideas—you know, with that minor hype surrounding the iPod nano overshadowing Sony's whole announcement and all. Despite the bad start, our beloved Japanese mega company is aiming for quite an interesting goal. The 6GB NW-A1000 and 20GB NW-A3000 should outsell previous models at a 5-to-1 ratio. This means that no less than 4.5 million units will have to find their way to a new owner. Granted, it's still a couple of blocks away compared to Apple's figures (6.2 million iPods sold last year) but it's kind of gutsy nevertheless. Interesting side note:

"a software upgrade scheduled to be available in December will allow the machines to support Windows Media"

. We're not sure if that means JANUS support or something else, but it sounds a lot better than "You'll have to use SonicStage for media file transfers".

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Ah, here's that other multi-gazillionair company: Creative. They've kept themselves quite busy over the last couple of months, introducing the Zen Sleek, Zen Vision and MuVo Vidz. There have been a number of less-than-spectacular releases as well: take the MuVo Nano Plus for example. Kind of has a special "ring" to its name right now, don't you agree? Anyway, Creative sneaked in a significantly insignificant upgrade of the Nano Plus (or "N200" as some like to call it) and dubbed the latest version "Chameleon". You'd expect a color screen or crazy, psychadelic, shape-morphing designs to go with such a name—but no. It's just the regular N200 with (drumroll) "interchangeable color lenses" and 1GB worth of flash memory. Probably ends up being not too expensive but what the deuce is this all about, Creative? We want new, hot stuff ASAP. I had yesterday's lunch yesterday already.

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If you're one of those audiophile guys or gals, take a look at the iMod. It's basically an appendix-like thing that "that taps the line-output directly from the DAC". You know what that means, don't you? It's expensive, though - no less than 264 American buckeroos are required to have your iPod "ponytailed".

Ok, that's it for now - see you again tomorrow!