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Thomson to ship portable digital video, audio player

Plus: Mitac unveils first Pocket PC with integrated GPS

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Mobile multimedia player

French consumer electronics giant Thomson yesterday launched a mobile multimedia player under its Lyra brand. The device can hold up to 80 hours' of video.

The 369g PDP 2860 sports a 3.5in TFT screen mounted in a 13.6 x 8 x 2.7cm unit. Inside is a 4200rpm 20GB hard drive. The device plays back 320 x 240 video encoded using MPEG 4, and supports MP3, MP3 Pro and WMA for audio. Video can be transferred to the Lyra from a PC via USB 2.0, or encoded directly from a suitable analog source - though Thomson notes that it won't handle copy-protected material. The player will output to a TV.

The device was a five equaliser pre-sets, but allows users to make their own adjustments. Thomson bundles a cassette adaptor to allow the device to be used with in-car tape players.

As a portable photo album, the PDP 2860 will hold up to 100,000 JPEGs. There's a built-in CompactFlash slot to allow pictures to be brought direct from the camera, or, again, they can be downloaded from a PC.

The PDP 2860 incorporates a Lithium Polymer rechargeable battery which will provide up to 12 hours of listening pleasure, Thomson says, but only four hours of video playback.

Thomson will ship the Lyra PDP 2860 early next month for €749 ($881). The device is compatible with Windows and Mac OS X.

PDAs

Mitac has introduced what it reckons is the world's first Windows Mobile 2003-based PDA with integrated GPS functionality.

Garmin has been offering a Palm OS-based GPS machine for some time, but Mitac's Mio 168 is the first Pocket PC to do so, the company claimed today.

The 168 has a classic Pocket PC spec: 300MHz Intel XScale PXA255 processor, 3.5in 16-bit colour LCD, 64MB SDRAM and 32MB of ROM.

The GPS antenna folds up from the back of the device. The signals it receives tie in to navigation software on the PDA which allows the user to travel to restaurants, parking lots and fuel stations. The device is being aimed at Taiwanese motorists and ships with a local digital map. Mitac is also providing a free US motoring map on SD card for users who want to take their 168 on trips to the States. However, as yet Mitac has no plans to ship the device in the US or Europe.

The 168 will go on sale in Taiwan next weekend and later throughout China. It is priced at TWD12,000 ($352).

Mitac also introduced a low-end Mio, the 336, with the same spec as the 168 but without the GPS facility. It too will ship next weekend, for TWD7349 ($216). ®

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