Hello Kitty becomes MP3 player

Small player, Big Sound

The Sanrio people have been selling a pink iPod with the picture of Hello Kitty etched into the metal side, but now they have an MP3 player shaped like the ubiquitous character.

It only has 256MB of memory and it costs $179, but you get to select tracks and control it in generally with her paws. Last year I had to buy my daughter a Hello Kitty toaster and it's only through a supreme act of will I'm not hitting the buy button right now.

Akibalive

You can buy it through Dynamism.com, a company started by Douglas Krone. He goes to Japan, trolls around the megastores like Bic Camera and Yodobashi Camera and then figures out ways to bring these products to gadget crazy Americans. (Dynamism also owns the Akibalive site.

Hello Kitty is generally associated with young girls, but, back in the 70s when it started, it was a symbol of teen rebellion and a way to tee off parents. At that time, it was a fad among teenage girls to act younger than they were, according to Ken Belson, co-author of "Hello Kitty: The Remarkable Story of Sanrio and the Billion Dollar Feline Phenomenon."

"They'd speak in really high voices, write in curlicues. It was the kind of stuff that made parents say, 'Act your age,'" Belson said last year.

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