With the Apple iPod being such a success, it is only natural for other manufacturers to jump on board with the known recipe for success. Called the Gigabeat MEG50JS , this portable music player features a removable 5GB hard disk and supports MP3, WMA or WAV digital audio formats.
The included removable 5GB hard disk offers enough space for about 1,000 MP3 files recorded at 128Kbps and with an average 5 minutes per song. Earlier in the year we gave you a first look at Toshibas 1.8-inch hard disks developed by Toshiba. These 1.8-inch hard drives are encased in a PC card surrounding and can be removed and used in laptops and other devices with a PC Card slot.
Wherein the Apple iPod uses a Firewire port to transfer its data, Toshiba has chosen to implement the new USB2.0 interface which is capable of transferring data up to 480Mbps. With the included software Toshiba says that the Gigabeat is capable of transferring an entire CD worth of audio to the unit in 30 seconds.
The Gigabeat is slightly larger than Apples iPod, but due mostly to the hard disk motor which ejects the PC Card hard drive. The Gigabeat is also heavier than the iPod weighing in at 235 grams versus the iPods 185 grams.
The Gigabeat is currently available in Japan with a price around $400 dollars (US) and includes the 5 GB Hard drive and software bundled. 2 GB hard drives and 5 GB hard drives can be purchased separately for $160 and $321 (US) respectively.
Other features include an on screen menu which supports English, Japanese, French, Spanish or German as well as a 160×120 pixel screen which is slightly smaller than that of the iPod. Apple has just recently announced a Windows based version of their new iPod thus separating the main differences between these two units. So if a removable hard drive is your cup of tea, the Gigabeat could be meant for you.