04. 27. 2005
MPIO-one micro media player
I don't know how practical the MPIO-one is, considering it's a movie player with a ONE inch screen, but it certainly solves the problem of portable media players being too bulky to really carry around easily. It's flash memory so it's extremely lightweight, just over an ounce, but storage only goes up to 1 GB. The MPIO-one can play mp3 and wma files as well as jpeg images and text. Of course you'll go blind trying to see anything on the screen, but it can be done. The MPIO-one, unlike so many other media players actually comes with software that will convert many types of video files (ASF, AVI, MPEG, WMV) into an MPEG-4 file that's playable on the device.
I saw lots of movie players of this size at CES in January, and while I was predictably blown away by their tiny size, they weren't exactly very useful. I am pretty skeptical about anybody ever getting the portable movie player right because I'm not sure there's a need. If you've got time to painstakingly convert video at home, you've got time to watch America's Next Top Model (not that I do). I latched on to the idea quickly and had an Archos Multimedia Jukebox with a 2 inch screen several years ago and watched half a season of Buffy on it, but because the battery life was so bad, I had to do it while the thing was plugged in, which, of course, defeats the purpose of having a portable. My niece has one of the newer players and while the battery life is a little better, rarely will it stay alive long enough to let you watch an entire feature-length movie.
MPIO-one will be available in May in Japan, no announcements for the rest of the world yet.