As the Western world makes itself morbidly obese on offal shakes and Big Macs, MP3 players just keep getting smaller. We're all expanding like fleshy party balloons in some hellish jamboree, but the electronics industry is all about miniaturisation. It's a sad irony that as gadgets decrease in size, our grotesquely chubby fingers become increasingly unable to operate their tiny controls.
By 2050, we'll all be sat around on the remaining bits of dry land, a nation of Jabba the Huts, desperately trying to switch over from the Shopping Channel, but unable to on account of our fingers having reached the point at which they can no longer accurately pick out a single button on a TV remote.
The iRiver S10 (2GB) is ludicrously tiny, and just 1.9g heavier than the new iPod Shuffle, but, unlike Apple's offering, it comes with a built-in screen. On the downside, you'll have to contend with 8 hours of battery life, compared to the Shuffle's 12 hours.
Most tiny MP3 players skimp on the control system -- there's a tendency for designers to forget we're a nation of lardos. How are we supposed to press these tiny buttons? Luckily the S10 has a 'D-Click system' which is alleged to make navigating easy. Unlike the U10 and E10, it doesn't support Flash or video playback. Whether it is enough to flummox the Shuffle, we'll have wait and see -- well, those of us who can still peer out at the world from under the pleats of flesh on our flabby faces; others will have to listen instead.
Expect a full review and pricing information as soon as the player is officially released. -CS