Toshiba presses play on 60GB audio player

Up to 15,000 audio files can be stored on the company's upcoming hard drive-based player.

Toshiba on Monday announced in Japan that it's increasing the song capacity of its Gigabeat line of hard drive-based digital audio players.

The HDD Audio Player Gigabeat line will top out at 60 gigabytes and will be available before the end of the year in the country, along with 10GB and 20GB versions. The devices will come with a high-resolution 2.2-inch color display and a navigation system based on a plus-sign sensor on the front of the device.

Up to 15,000 audio files, in WMA or MP3 formats recorded at 128 kilobits per second, can be stored on the 60GB version, according to the company. Songs are transferred over a USB (universal serial bus) 2.0 connection.

The electronics company is one of the major suppliers for 1.8-inch drives used in many hard drive-based digital audio players, including Apple Computer's iPod, which tops out at 40GB.

Although Apple has in the past used larger-capacity drives from Toshiba, the Mac maker said in July that it had no imminent plans for a higher-capacity iPod.

Toshiba announced plans for a 60GB drive in June but said in August that the drive would be delayed.

The company also announced the launch of its Gigabeat G10, which is a smaller hard drive-based player with a 10GB capacity.

All the players have 128MB of flash memory and lithium-ion batteries. They also come in different colors. The 10GB Gigabeat F comes with white, blue and pink cases, while the 20GB comes in silver, blue and pink. The 60GB comes with a silver case, and the 10GB G10 comes with black and red cases. The 60GB will be available in Japan in early December. The others will come out in late November.

Pricing and availability dates for the 10GB, 20GB and 60GB versions were not available, but Toshiba does plan to bring a 20GB version to the United States in October for $349.

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