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Toshiba tilts digital music player line at iPod

Big drives, unusual contoller, pastel shades

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Toshiba will update its Gigabeat line of hard drive-based music players in November, the company said today, matching an iPod Mini-like range of colours to a line of high-capacity hard disks.

Toshiba Gigabeat F SeriesThe new F series comprises three models offering 10, 20 and 60GB 1.8in drive capacities. All three machines sport a 240 x 320, 2.2in colour display. Equally distinctive is each player's cruciform controller - a bid, no doubt, to find an alternative to the iPod's clickwheel and the GeSense pad Sony has built into its Vaio Pocket VGF-AP1.

At 10.6 x 6.3 x 1.6cm (the 60GB model is a slightly thicker 1.9cm) the Gigabeat F series is clearly more iPod-like than the more MiniDisc player-styled Gigabeat G series. The new line-up's standard colours are white (10GB) and silver (20, 60GB), but the two lower-end models will also be offered in 'aqua' and 'vin rouge' pink colours.

On the audio front, the players support MP3, WAV and WMA files, filtered through an equaliser with 28 pre-sets and a customisation facility - the latter an improvement on the G series. There's also a 3D surround sound facility. Songs are transferred to the device using a USB 2.0 connector. Toshiba claims an 11-hour playback time.

The F series support Windows Media 9's DRM technology, but not Windows Media 10.

The three models are set to ship in November for ¥39,800 (£200/$360), ¥44,800 (£225/$405) and ¥64,800 (£325/$586), for the 10, 20 and 60GB models, respectively. ®

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