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Packard Bell preps iPod Mini clone

5GB capacity, credit-card size

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UK PC maker Packard Bell will next month extend its line of Flash-based MP3 players with its hard drive unit, a 5GB it hopes will be snapped up by all those folk who can't get hold of an iPod Mini.

Packard Bell Pocket Maestro 5GB MP3 playerThe Pocket M@estro will play MP3 and WMA files and incorporate an FM radio. Shows can be recorded as MP3 files, and the device can also record voice memos. Songs can be transferred to the player across a standard USB 2.0 link.

The player sports an OLED screen. Its rechargeable Lithium Ion battery will run for up to seven hours between charges.

So far Packard Bell hasn't disclosed the Pocket M@estro's specifications in detail, but it did say the player was "slightly larger than a credit card", which puts it round about the same size as the iPod Mini.

The Pocket M@estro is expected to retail for around £200 in the UK. A 2.5GB model will go on sale at the same time for under £150. Nice price - it's just a shame that the player looks a bit like a Blake's 7 prop... ®

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