LAS VEGAS--Wishing that your MP3 player would act more like a personal trainer? Me neither, but Philips is banking on finding an audience of motivation-starved fitness types for its newly announced Activa MP3 player ($129), available worldwide in April.
To put a new spin on working out with your MP3 player, the Activa gives gym rats real-time voice feedback on their performance. Only time will tell if the voice is more in step with the Wii Fit style of chipper encouragement, or with the Tony Little brand of aggressive shouting.
Assuming that the voice can be switched off for those who prefer not to be nagged, the Activa includes the subtler (and arguable more useful) capability to play music that matches the tempo of your workout. If your music collection tends to run a little on the easy listening end of things, Activa comes preloaded with a collection of uptempo music.
The cynic in me feels compelled to point out that Yamaha introduced a similar product back in 2008 called BodiBeat, which didn't exactly catch-on like wildfire. To Philips' credit, the Activa offers a much slicker, smaller, more attractive design. The product also includes a pair of sport headphones, an integrated clip, protective pouch, and a cable clip manager.
On a side note, this is also one of the first MP3 players Philips is releasing in partnership with Songbird music software, offering a breath of fresh air to those who have grown tired of Windows Media Player.
Specifics on the Activa's storage capacity have yet to be revealed.