Turbolinux's Wizpy multimedia player coming in February

Japan's Turbolinux will begin selling its Wizpy Linux-based multimedia player in February. The Wizpy can also be used to boot a PC into the Linux OS.

Japan's Turbolinux will begin selling its Wizpy Linux-based multimedia player in February. As a bonus, the device can also be used to boot a PC into the Linux OS, allowing users to access their files in their own working environment on almost any PC.

The Wizpy will be available first to customers in Japan via the company's home page on Feb. 23 and then in shops in March. It will come in two models: a 2G-byte version will cost YEN 29,800 (AUD$318) and a 4G-byte version will cost YEN 33,800.

At first glance the Wizpy doesn't look very different from other multimedia players on the market: A 1.7-inch OLED (organic light emitting diode) color screen occupies the top half of the front of the Wizpy and the lower half has a keypad. Within, there is software to play music in Ogg, MP3 and Windows Media Audio formats, and to show XviD and MPEG4 video files and JPEG images. It can also record sound to MP3 files and display text files, and has an FM radio.

But the Wizpy's flash memory hides another feature that differentiates it from other media players: a bootable version of Linux.

The operating system doesn't have to be installed on the computer, but runs straight from the Wizpy.

"The installation operation is ... a high barrier of entry for users to use Linux. So we came up with this device," said Koichi Yano, president and CEO of Turbolinux.

To the computer, the Wizpy appears to be a bootable USB CD-ROM or hard-disk drive, which means most computers will boot the Linux OS without any fuss, said Turbolinux.

For some PCs -- the company estimates about a quarter of those it has tested so far -- users will either have to insert a supplied CD-ROM into the computer, which will divert the boot-up sequence to the Wizpy, or make a change in the computer's BIOS settings so the PC looks to a USB-connected device for an operating system before its own hard-disk drive. The device should work with all PCs, and on newer models of Apple's Macintosh that are based in Intel chips, said Yano.

The Wizpy contains an updatable version of Turbolinux's own operating system, based on Linux kernel 2.6.19, the Firefox browser, Thunderbird e-mail client, Skype, CD and DVD ripping software, Turbo Media Player, RealPlayer 10, a Flash player, Open Office 2.1, Adobe Acrobat reader, some Ricoh Corp. fonts and Justsystem's ATOK Japanese input system

The OS and installed software occupies about 1G byte of memory space so that leaves either 1G byte or 3G bytes left for storing files or multimedia, depending on the model. User files can be stored in either a media folder, which is accessible from the host PC when the Wizpy is connected as removable storage, or a documents folder, which is only accessible from within the Linux OS on the device.

It's not possible to access files stored on the host machine's hard disk drive when it is booted from the Wizpy. This is intended to reassure people who lend their PCs to Wizpy owners: they will be able to do so knowing that the Wizpy user cannot ferret around in their files, a company official said.

The device will be able to connect to a network through the host PC and also access connected peripherals, if they are supported. Because Linux support for some audio hardware is patchy, the Wizpy uses its own audio output system: Users can plug speakers into the device's headphones socket to hear system sounds.

The Wizpy should start appearing outside of Japan from April, priced in the same way as in Japan, where it is aligned with local iPod prices, said Yano.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?