Thu, Mar 17, 2005 - Page 15 News List

The MP3 player has just grown up

A new digital storage device displays not only photographs, but also plays your favorite videos and music as well

By Wu Heng-yi  /  STAFF REPORTER WITH CNA

When traveling with a digital camera you can snap away and it isn't long before you have captured hundreds of pictures. It can be quite a drag, however, when you find that you are running out of memory.

As a result, digital camera fanatics have been racking their brains to find out what can be done to shake off the hassle of changing memory sticks when they are on a photo-snapping spree.

To satisfy an increasingly demanding public, innovative manufacturers of electronic products have recently come up with a novel idea to store, view and share digital photos, movies and music -- all in a hassle-free way.

What they have come up with has been temporarily termed by some a "portable photo storage viewer."

Though an official name for the device has yet to be settled, some manufacturers are calling this sleek gadget with huge storage space a Portable Media Player (PMP), while yet others have named it a Personal Video Player (PVP).

Whatever it's called, it turns the tables on the notion of a portable music player, also known as an MP3 player, by supplying images in addition to sound.

The PMP (or PVP) offers far more than what a simple photo player can provide. It displays not only photographs, but also plays your favorite videos. Music can also be accessed and enjoyed at the press of a few buttons -- wherever you are and without worrying about when you will run out of memory. The various models launched by different manufacturers all feature a built-in 20GB hard drive for storage.

In addition to the huge storage space, a PMP likely sports a crystal-clear 3.5-inch TFT-LCD screen with 320 by 240 pixel resolution and 262,000 colors.

You can also download audio content directly into the player from other home or portable devices and it supports video playback in a number of formats such as AVI, MOV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, AVI video files, and even MPEG-4, which is why it has also been called an "MP4 Player"

The PC savvy and early movers in the tech scene may also be concerned about the price, size, and battery life of this killer toy, but there is little to worry about in this department.

This all-encompassing device can be seen as your personal entertainment center and it also has great potential for commercial use.

Hypermarkets, outlets, convenience stores and so forth can use it as an electronic catalogue to advertise their goods, and salespeople can flaunt their products via this eye-catching gadget.

If you are in the market for a better way to store, carry around and share your photos, music and movies, you will definitely dig this hand held portable digital media player.

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