Friday, December 03, 2004

Olympus unveils iPod challenger

Olympus have released details of their m:robe hard-disk based music player and multimedia devices. The m:robe 100 (not a fan of the name, I must say) is very reminiscent of the iPod in styling, although it has an LED-based softtouch control mechanism. Capacity-wise, though, it's more like the iPod Mini at 5Gb; it's virtually identical to the Mini in size, weight and price as well. The m:robe 500 has a 20Gb drive and a 3.7" VGA screen to show pictures, which the device can take itself: it has a built-in 1.3 megapixel camera. Not sure if that's much of a selling point, though: entry-level standalone cameras are now at 3 and 4 megapixels, while many mobiles come with cameras of that standard now. The iPod Photo comes with a 40Gb hard drive for the same price; I would rather have more space than a camera.

All in all an interesting effort, though it doesn't have firewire, and isn't available yet.