iPods – let’s be frank here, they are top dogs because of two things: 1. They have the best marketing around and 2. They are the best players. It’s like Chelsea, they have the most money AND the best manager. Unlike any Premier League side, however, Toshiba could be about to do Apple a serious amount of damage.
The Gigabeat S30 and S60V are two digital audio players the likes of which have never been seen. Yes, they play music (WMA, MP3 and WAV) to be exact. Yes they play video (WMV and Mpeg2 based formats) and yes there’s an FM tuner but there is something rather special going on here.
Both machines run Windows Mobile 5.0. You heard right, digital audio players just made a wildly unexpected leap to blur the boundary between themselves and devices such as smartphones and PDAs. The S30 and S60V also sport 30 and 60GB HDDs respectively and are equipped with large 2.4in QVGA displays. Furthermore while both players are marginally thicker than their Apple equivalents (59.9 x 99.9 x 14.2 and 59.9 x 99.9 x 16.2mm verses 10.4 x 6.1 x 1.1mm and 10.4 x 6.1 x 1.4mm) the Giagbeats are lighter at 127g and 140g against 136g and 157g.
Even better, Gigabeat pricing matches the Feline Obsessed White Fetishist’s at $299 and $399 dollars but as per usual there is a fly in the ointment. We don’t have a definitive UK release date and we don’t even know whether there will be one. In my opinion, not releasing such loaded players into the UK market would be stupidity of the Korean-est order so fingers crossed.
Either way, I have a sneaking suspicion the Gigabeat S30 and S60V will be doing a rip roaring trade on the grey import market after they launch in Japan towards the end of this month. Stuff Windows Mobile into the face of your nearest iPod fan and then see how big his smile is. I own a 4G iPod and I can tell you I may never smile again.