It takes a tenacious company to survive in the media player market these days, and Cowon is certainly that – it’s just released an iPod Nano challenger that has the audacity to play video too.
The iAudio A6 will play your compressed MP4s on its 1.3in, 260,000 colour OLED display, which are brighter and save more power than ye olde LCDs. Considering Samsung’s new non video-playing Z5 has a 1.8in screen, this seems a strange combination of functionality, but it’s a handy extra all the same.
The other intriguing feature is the ‘percentage sign’ touch control pad, which Cowon calls the ‘swing touch’. Designers are in something of a Catch 22 in the post-iPod clickwheel world – they either go circular and get accused of plagiarism, or get slated for unusual control interfaces. We reckon the A6’s controls look good, but will wait for a hands-on go before we deem them clickwheel-worthy.
It further claims to offer the world’s first 0.85in hard disk, although Toshiba’s F-series Gigabeat will have a few quibbles with that. Unfortunately other details are sketchy at the moment, but it does support DRM-ed WMAs from sites like Napster.
Photographers will also be pleased to see the inclusion of USB-OTG, which will let you unload shots straight from your digicam to free up some space. The A6 is expected to go on sale in April – there’s no pricing info yet, but have a gander at www.iaudio.com for more info.
Review of 2004: Sight - it's the new sound