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iRiver's smile-inducing U10 plus more

iRiver's smile-inducing U10 plus more

Today, the cool folks at iRiver gave us a hands-on preview of some upcoming flash-based players. We've seen glimpses of the T10, T30, and the snazzy U10 in foreign markets (I was just in Tokyo), but now we have some gritty details.

First up, the U10 is a flash-based player like no other. It looks like a miniature version of the Olympus M:robe MR-500 with a colorful 2.2-inch LCD and only a few buttons on the sides. It utilizes a suprisingly intuitive D-click system for navigation, where you press any of the four sides of the display to activate a function. It measures 2.6 by 1.7 by 0.5 inches, runs on a rechargeable battery, and features playback of photos, MPEG-4 video (320x240, 15fps), Shockwave games, an FM tuner, a voice recorder, and a wicked optional dock with a remote control and line-in recording. The 512MB version will cost around $200. Although there is a 1GB available as well, we'd love to see a version with more storage. But as new technology goes, this Janus-compatible player looks juicy.

The T10 ($149 for 512MB, $199 for 1GB) offers MP3/WMA playback (possibly OGG) and features an FM tuner/recorder, a voice recorder, line-in recording, and a color screen. Available in blue, red, and yellow, the T10 is supposed to last 45 hours on a single AA battery, and it will replace the 700 and 800 series. The entry-level T30 is tiny, not as flashy, and lacks a color screen and FM tuner, but it will start at $99 for the 512MB version ($149 for 1GB). Both players will feature an ID3 tag-based library (thank goodness) and will be Janus-compatible, so they'll be among the first to be compatible with to-go subscription services. All three players will be available in August.