IRiver launches colorful portable media players

IRiver on Wednesday announced two portable media players that include color screens and support for songs encoded in the Microsoft Windows Media Player 10 format, which will help the players reach out to more digital music subscription services.

The 20G-byte iRiver H320 and the 40G-byte iRiver H340 are the first two players in the company's new H300 line of portable media players. A color screen provides a more intuitive interface, making it easier for consumers to operate the players, said an iRiver spokesman, who asked not to be named. The color screens can also display bitmap or JPEG images, according to the company.

The H300 series models are iRiver's first to support Microsoft's new Windows Media Player 10 secure music format. Digital music download services from Microsoft's MSN Music, MusicMatch and others use the Windows Media Player 10 format to distribute media files with digital rights management.

The portable audio players can also play MP3, WMA (Windows Media Audio), ASF (Advanced Systems Format), Ogg Vorbis and WAV music files, and they allow for recording of MP3 and WAV files from music sources via a microphone or a line-in socket, the company said. The latest version of MoodLogic's song-listing software, which allows the creation of song lists based on genre, mood and tempo, also can be loaded on the players.

The players have a built-in FM tuner and a lithium-ion battery that provides a 16-hour life, the iRiver spokesman said. The players weigh 200 grams and measure 2.4 inches (6.09 centimeters) by 0.9 inches (2.28 centimeters) by 4.0 inches (10.16 centimeters).

The US$329.99 iRiver H320 and $429.99 iRiver H340 will become available at North American retail outlets in October. The spokesman couldn't immediately comment on international availability.

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