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iRiver offers ‘Toblerone’ 512MB MP3 player

Plus NEC's Centrino-style S800, VIA's latest mini-ITX board and more

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MP3 Player

iRiver has launched what it claims is the "first MP3 player with 512MB internal storage in the world", the iFP-195TC. Rather a large number of iPod and other hard drive-based users will dispute that claim - their players all have 512MB, and then some - but we assume iRiver means solid state internal storage, so we'll let them off this once.

The iFP-195TC comes in a rather cute Toblerone-style triangular shell that's small enough to carry on your keyring. iRiver also bundles a neck strap and an armband, as well as a carrying case. The player measures 31 x 28.5 x 82mm and weighs 32g, excluding the single AA battery that powers it. iRiver claims a single battery gives 20 hours playback time.

Tracks can be transferred from a host PC via the iFP-195TC's built-in USB 1.1 port, but it also features a voice recorder and an FM tuner with an MP3 recording facility. It also plays WMA files.

The iFP-195TC is available in the Far East, and in the US through Amazon, priced at $332.49. Amazon won't ship the player to the UK, but Amazon UK does offer the 256MB version - the 512MB iFP-195TC may follow in due course. In the meantime, Advanced MP3 Players is offering the iFP-195TC for £329.

Notebook

NEC has launched its latest Versa notebook, the S800, in the UK. It's not based on Intel's Centrino platform, but NEC clearly has that market in mind. The S800 is powered by a 933Mz Ultra-low Voltage Pentium III-M, one of Centrino's Pentium M predecessors, and bundles an integrated 802.11a/b wireless LAN adaptor.

NEC claims the S800 offers four hours of battery life, which isn't quite up to Centrino standards, particularly given the low clock speed. However, at £1099, it's more expensive than some higher clocked Centrinos, such as Dell's Inspiron 500M, which offers a better spec. into the bargain.

But at 2.26kg, the Dell is rather heavier than the 1.14kg NEC. The S800 is 1.7cm thick, compared to the 3.1cm Dell. This is a portability, not a specification purchase.

The S800 offers a built-in 56Kbps modem, 10/100Mbps Ethernet, three USB 2.0 ports, VGA adaptor, 12.1in display, 20GB hard drive and 256MB of DDR SDRAM. Its magnesium alloy shell is borrowed from Apple's 12in PowerBook G4.

Motherboards

VIA has announced its latest mini-ITX mobo, the EPIA M10000. Based on a 1GHz VIA C3 processor, the board is aimed at digital content applications, such as digital video recorders.

The M10000 features an integrated MPEG-2 decoder, part of its chipset's S3 UniChrome integrated graphics. The chipset also sports VIA's Vinyl six-channel, 20-bit audio sub-system. USB 2.0 and 1394 are integrated onto the mobo, along with 10/100Mbps Ethernet for home networking, S-video and RCA TV-out ports, and an SPDIF optical digital audio connector.

VIA claims the 17 x 17cm board consumes ten per cent less power than previous EPIA mobos, and generates half as much noise thanks to the incorporation of a notebook-style heatpipe over the x86-compatible CPU, which can host Windows and Linux operating systems.

The EPIA M10000 is available in volume for an estimated retail price of $199.

Displays

Transtec wants CRT monitor owners to move to LCD and is offering its latest 18in panel for just £294 to tempt them to make the switch. That's the same price as a typical 16in display, the company claims. Browsing a variety of online retailers' price lists reveals it's correct.

Available now, the white/grey two-tone display offers "very persuasive technical qualities", according to Transtec's press release, including 1280x1024 native resolution, 400:1 contrast ratio and 220cd/qm luminosity. It also features two "discreetly integrated stereo boxes", which we assume means 'speakers'. ®

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