BenQ to launch HDD media player this year

Taiwanese hardware maker BenQ is planning to launch a new hard-disk drive-based digital media player later this year, the company said at the Ceatec Japan 2004 exhibition on Friday.

The player will be part of its Joybee range of digital media players. It contains a 4G-byte hard disk drive and accepts SD (Secure Digital) memory cards, said Noriyuki Kitamura, a product manager for digital audio products at BenQ Japan.

On its front panel is a TFT (thin film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) panel and, under that, a touch-sensitive control panel. The player is a redesigned version of a prototype that was shown by the company at the Computex exhibition in Taiwan earlier this year.

With its shape, white exterior, LCD and circular control dial, the earlier player resembled at first glance Apple Computer's iPod but the new player has lost some of these influences. It is now silver in color and features a square touch-sensitive control panel under the main display.

It will support playback of MP3, Windows Media Audio and WAV format audio files and JPEG images, said Kitamura. It will go on sale worldwide in December and will cost around US$300, he said.

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