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SK C&C's Air Portable Media Player proves Asia gets all the cool stuff

SK C&C's Air Portable Media Player proves Asia gets all the cool stuff

Before CES, I'd never heard of Korean IT company SK C&C and for good reason. Not only is it located thousands of miles from San Francisco, it's also not even a consumer electronics company. It appears, however, that SK C&C is making its first foray into the CE category with the Air Portable Media Player. And amid the many, many portable video players that are making their debut at CES, this puppy caught my eye, and I'll tell you why.

This pocket-size (well, purse-size) device has a built-in Satellite DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) receiver. Satellite DMB service, which offers H.264 video and AAC+ audio, allows subscribers to watch multimedia broadcasting programs on their portable devices (mostly cell phones at the moment) wherever they are--now that's what I call portable entertainment. It's this kind of easily accessible content that most PVPs are missing today (currently, services such as Vongo work only with Portable Media Centers). Unfortunately for Americans such as myself, S-DMB service is only available in Korea and Japan, and as such, I doubt the Air will be released here. But why don't I tell you about it anyway? The Air utilizes AMD's latest Alchemy AU12oo processor, which basically means that this is a very quick and powerful little machine. It's capable of supporting most digital video formats, including, but not limited to, MPEG-1, -2, and -4; DivX; XviD; WMV 9; H.263; and H.264, as well as a host of audio formats, such as MP3, WMA, AC3, OGG, WAV, and PCM. And of course, you can view photos and e-books (text files, probably), and there's a TV-out feature that lets you view and listen to all of your content on a big screen or through big speakers. Finally, the Air acts as a USB host so that you can directly offload images from a digital camera.