Today's DAP headlines:
The export-hungry company of Mpio/Digitalway comes up with two new players: the FY-700 and FL-400. Gateway seems to be ready to throw in the towel, DAP-technically speaking. In more uplifting news, Toshiba introduced two fuel cell DAPs - be sure to keep some methanol handy at all times. Closing the rows today are the illustriously-named Woodi CA-F180 and GoDot's new DAP line-up.
Two days ago, we reported on the reappearance of Mpio's hard drive based models (HD400 & 500). The South-Korean company decided not to call it a day just yet, though. The upcoming FY-700 and FL-400 provide some fresh blood in Mpio's solid-state flash memory assortment. First off, there's the FL-400 - the supposed successor to the reputable FL-3x0 (which did particularly well in Asia). It's a necklace-based design again - much like the FL-300 and iRiver N10/11 - and it sports a nice negative FSTN screen. Seems to be a bit underpowered though, since the FL-400 supposedly only gets about 8.5 hour worth of playback time per battery charge. The FY-700 doesn't perform much better in that area (10 hour per single AAA battery) but least it's got this green ribbon thing attached to it... making it look like a high-tech piece of leek. We suspect the FY-700 to be aimed at the "sporty types", but capacities up to 2GB and Janus DRM support should be able to please most "regular" users as well.
Back when Gateway entered the DAP market (quite a while ago by now), the overall expectations couldn't possibly have been too positive in nature. All they ever managed to come up with was a shrunken version of e.Digital Odyssey 1000 (DMP-X20) and a rather weird-looking micro-hdd DAP (the Photo Jukebox). Gateway's consumer electronics section hasn't been doing too great lately (9% decrease in the last quarter), which is why the Photo Jukebox has seen notable price drops plus rebates throughout the last few weeks. A quick bail-out doesn't seem unlikely. We wonder if Gateway will ever decide to re-enter this particular market again, given their past bad experiences.
More pleasing to read up on are some of Toshiba's developments in fuel cell technology. The Japanese have managed to come up with two DAP prototypes that run on... methanol. That's right: methanol, that liquid and flammable type of stuff. Rather sizeable fuel cells can provide up to 35 hours of playback time per 3.5ml (flash player) and up to 60 hour per 10ml (hard drive based prototype). Sizeable fuel cells mean sizeable DAPs - these things measure 35x110x20mm (flash) and 65x125x27mm (hard drive) respectively. Plus, you'll have to carry an extra bottle of methanol on you when going on a road trip.
South Koreans like small DAPs. They like them very, very much, somehow. Every now and then, some random manufacturer over there comes up with something so incredibly tiny that it seems like overkill (or "underkill", if you will). The iPod nano is small, but not small beyond anyone's imagination - and not without its reasons. If you can't navigate your contents in a decent fashion, pocket-friendliness won't help you any further. There are exceptions to the rule, of course. The super tiny cube-shaped MobiBlu DAH-1500 can be operated without too much of a hassle. We're not sure if the same can be said for Woodi's upcoming CA-F180, but it doesn't look half bad on pictures and spec sheets. Measuring 54.2 x 25.2 x 20mm and weighing no more than 18 grams, the CA-F180 looks like a DAH-1500 that got run over by a car. Despite all that, the compact bugger offers FM radio, voice recording, line-in encoding and support for OGG(Q1~Q9), MP3, WMA, ASF, MTX and WAV files. Comes in two flavors: 512MB and 1GB.
Finally, there's this whole new line-up of DAPs by GoDot. The M8500, M8510, M9500, M9501, M9520 and M1500 - they're all in there, offering capacities from 256MB to 20GB and shaped like big slabs of stone or early-2003 Nokia cellphone prototypes. Take your pick.
That was it for today, people.