Toshiba Pounds Out gigabeat V

Those wily market-savvy folks at Toshiba waited until everyone in the U.S. started clearing out of town for the Labor Day weekend before announcing the availability of the company’s gigabeat V personal media player in the United States—well, at least the availability of pre-orders, gotta love’em for that.

The gigabeat V is an evolution of the company’s gigabeat S series, offering a 3.5-inch, 320 by 240 pixel LCD display, a 30 GB hard drive (for storing movies, video, photos, music, and more), and an extended battery life which promises up to 8 hours of video playback on a single charge or the built-in lithium-ion battery. The gigabeat V runs Windows Mobile Portable Media Center, so it’s PlaysForSure compatible and can handle media encoded or Windows Media 9 and 10 and is compatible with music download and subscription services like Rhapsody, eMusic, and Napster (but not Apple’s iTunes). On the audio front, it supports MP3, WMA (including protected content), WMA Lossless, and WAV.

The gigabeat can be connected directly to digital cameras as a storage device (offloading photos for backup or when camera memory fills up), and features a built-in speaker so audio can be shared with other people in real air rather than by swapping headphones around or dealing with splitters and adapters. The gigabeat V sports an A/V output for connecting to televisions.

Intrigued? Pre-orders are available right now through Amazon.com and Crutchfield; the gigabeat V will run $399.99. Expect units to hit retail shelves in October.

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