COMPUTEX - Kingston shows its first portable media player

Kingston Technology is getting into the competitive portable media player market, it said Tuesday at the Computex trade show in Taipei.

Kingston Technology, best known for its memory products, is getting into the competitive portable media player market, it said Tuesday at the Computex trade show in Taipei.

The company plans to launch a pocket-size player in August this year in Asia and then expand sales to the U.S., said Joe Teng, product manager at the company's flash division.

The device has a 2-inch color screen and can play a number of different audio and video formats: AVI, MPEG 1, MPEG 2, MPEG 4, Windows Media Video, ASF, MP3, Windows Media Audio, Ogg and WAV, said Teng. It can also display text files and JPEG images.

The Windows Media support includes Microsoft's digital rights management (DRM) system, so it can play content purchased online in Windows Media format. A second version of the device is currently being certified or Microsoft's Plays for Sure, which should ensure compatibility with any Windows Media-based content.

Kingston is aiming the player at tech-savvy users who want video playback in addition to basic MP3 playback, said Teng.

The K-PEX, as Kingston has dubbed the device, will come in 1G-byte and 2G-byte versions. Prices are yet to be decided but the lower-capacity model will likely cost around US$120 to US$130 while the higher-capacity model will be between US$170 and US$180, said Teng.

Other features include a USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 interface, and integrated voice recorder and speakers. It measures 94 millimeters by 46mm by 14mm and weighs 65 grams. There is also a Mini SD memory card slot so the memory capacity can be expanded.

The portable media player market is very competitive with many companies hoping to steal some market share away from Apple Computer, which dominates with its iPod music and video player. At this week's Computex trade show there are many similar devices on show.

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