iRiver-Maker Unveils Hard Disk MP3 Player

ReignCom Co., makers of the iRiver line of digital music devices, has announced its first hard disk-based MP3 player digital media device, in what it hopes will be its first big attack to steal away sales from Apple Computeris iPod, The Korea Herald reports.

The iRiver H10 is built around a 5-gigabyte (GB) hard disk that is capable of holding more than 1,200 songs, the company said. The H10 features a 1.5-inch display, a touch-scroll controller, an FM radio receiver and an image and text viewer that supports more than 40 languages. The player has a rechargeable battery that allows 12 hours of playing time.

The H10 goes on sale in South Korea today and will be available in the U.S. next month for around US$342. In comparison, the closest Apple portable media device would be the 4GB, iPod mini, which stores 1,000 songs and retails for $249.

ReignCom is best known for its flash-based iRiver MP3 players. Company executives were careful to convey that the release of its first hard disk player doesnit mean the company is shifting its focus away from flash-memory-based products. "Itis more of a counter against Appleis rising popularity in the market," said a ReignCom spokesman.

The company said it is working on releasing 20GB and 40GB hard drive-based models next year.