At CES we wrote about a range of MP3 players from Aiwa that we thought looked pretty impressive. They were also unusual in that for Aiwa read Sony. The two companies, which were always very close, are now in fact one and the same. So while Sony officially won’t sully itself by launching players that use the MP3 format, rather than its copyright secure ATRAC, it can at least dip a toe in the MP3 water using its budget brand.
Anyway it now appears that the two hard disk players – the HZ-DS2000 and HZ-WS2000 – will be debuting in Europe in April.
The HZ-WS2000 a 2Gigabyte (36 hours of tunes) player is the one that caught our eye in that it houses a one-inch hard drive. Its USP is that it is incredibly thin, much more slight than the forthcoming Apple mini iPod.
Aiwa’s second hard disk player, the HZ-DS2000 , is targeted at sport types. It has a rubberised edge to protect it should it be dropped and excellent shockproof facilities courtesy of a buffer system that runs for an amazing twenty minutes.
Both players could do well if they sell for les than the price of the iPod mini, which would mean they would have to be in the £160-200 price bracket.
Aiwa also unveiled its Pavit range of players that feature integrated USB connectors. The AZ-RS256 is a rugged slashproof model with 256MB of storage, while the AZ-ES265 is a smarter looking device for less-energetic types.
Perhaps the most interesting model in the range is the AZ-HS256 an MP3 player integrated into a pair of headphones.
All the Pavit models are expected in late spring. No price details yet.