iRiver, the slightly left-of-field digital audio player manufacturer has unveiled the iFP-900. Unlike the iPod, this is a solid-state player with built in flash memory rather than a hard disk. While hard disk players offer more storage, when it comes to small and skip proof, flash memory can’t be beaten. At only 64 x 51 x 20 mm the iFP-900 is handy for slipping unnoticed into a pocket or taking out for a run.
The big selling point of this player though is the colour screen. It's 1.2 inches in diameter and can display 260,000 colours. A colour screen may seem unnecessary on a music player but many thought the same for mobile phones, and now you'd be hard pushed to find one with a black and one screen. It does have its uses though and the player can at display JPEG and BMP images.
Battery life is an impressive 40 hours and it supports a good range of file formats giving you a choice of MP3, WMA or Ogg Vorbis. There’s a microphone for recording and the iFP-900 can also capture audio via the combined analogue/optical digital line-in.
Other features include a clock radio, so presumably as long as it’s hooked up to some speakers, you can use it to wake you up in the mornings. The players is pretty cool looking and iRiver claims that it has improved the user interface, which was always a bit tricky in the past.
Three different memory configurations will be available with recommended retail prices of £169 for the 256MB model, £224 for the 512MB model, and £270 for the top-of-the-range 1GB model. This is the only possible downer as the storage capacity seems relatively limited compared to a hard disk based player. A good time then to mention the built in FM radio, so you can listen to some fresh tunes if you get tired of your own.