For some reason, iRiver media players always seem to draw a lot of water in the tech news industry. I’m not suggesting there is anything wrong with them, far from it, but what has always been a mystery to me is why it is iRiver that is often put on a pedestal in spite of the volume and strength of the competition. But then I saw the U10 and I don’t really care why anymore; iRiver, despite the lamentable “i” prefix, just make beautiful kit and the U10 is a prime example. The launch event for the U10 took place yesterday and also introduced T20 and T30 MP3 players.
gave me ring… The U10 is a tiny personal video player that is compatible with MPEG4 and Macromedia Flash format video plus MP3, WMA, OGG and ASF audio. On top of that the U10 will play FM radio, mini flash games, supports voice recording, photo albums and txt viewer. Nothing particularly special there but if the iPod’s greatest strength was the sleek design (and it sure as hell wasn’t it’s compatibility, the quality of iTunes or the DRM in my opinion) then the U10 has to be a winner: look at the pic, it has a docking station shaped like a tiny telly! How cool is that? Although not technically touch screen the D-Click system hides buttons beneath the rim of the 2.2″ 265K screen so that pressing has the same effect as a touch screen. Its only drawback is that, as a flash player, it obviously can’t have the memory capacity of a hard drive based device and so only comes with 512MB or 1GB options; that’s a reasonable amount of music but will be very limited when you start adding video on top.
The T20 and T30 are also both flash based and come with the same 512MB/1GB capacity options. Each supports MP3, WMA, ASF and OGG. The T20 offers 15 hours battery life and the T30 offers 20, each allow voice recording and FM radio reception. There’s no word on prices or UK availability but we’ll keep you posted.