IRiver adds to H10 music player range

Reigncom will show two new versions of its recently launched H10 multimedia player this week at the Cebit show in Hanover, Germany.

The company behind the IRiver family of digital music players will show two new versions of its recently launched H10 multimedia player this week at the Cebit show in Hanover, Germany, it said on Friday.

South Korea's Reigncom is using the exhibition to launch 1G-byte and 20G-byte versions of the player, it said in a statement. The first H10 player, launched earlier this year, has a 5G-byte storage capacity.

Reigncom's target for the first H10 player is potential Apple Computer iPod Mini buyers. The company is promoting the player to this market through a series of advertisements that feature a picture of a model biting into an apple and the tag-line "sweeter one." The two new players add capacities and sizes closer to Apple's iPod and iPod Shuffle.

"We needed some product to be launched as an Apple alternative," said Joon Yang, president of Reigncom, in an interview last week. "I don't think 100 percent of people like the iPod but it's hard to find an alternative so we thought let's make an alternative."

The H10 supports MP3 or Windows Media Audio files including those purchased from music stores that work with Microsoft's Windows Media Player 10. All three models have a color LCD (liquid crystal display), can show images or slide-shows, have a built-in FM radio and a text viewer that supports e-books or can be used to display the lyrics of a song being played. A built-in timer allows users to set the H10 to record radio programs at a preset time.

Some of these features, such as the FM radio, aren't available on iPods and some, such as the ability to view photos or the color screen, are only available on some iPod models.

The greater number of features comes at a price. Reigncom has released only U.K. pricing for the two new models: £229 (US$440) for the 20G-byte model and £139 for the 1G-byte model. The equivalent capacity iPod players cost £209 and £99 in the U.K.

In terms of physical size the iPods win out. The 20G-byte H10 measures 102 millimeters by 61 mm by 22 mm while the iPod is 104 mm by 61 mm by 14 mm. The 1G-byte flash player with its LCD panel is considerably larger that the iPod Shuffle, measuring 72 mm by 42 mm by 16 mm against the iPod's 84 mm by 25 mm by 8 mm.

Battery life is 16 hours for the higher capacity model and 60 hours for the lower capacity model, according to the company.

Both new H10 models will be launched in the U.K. in April. Launch details and prices for other markets have yet to be announced.

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Martyn Williams

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