Sony’s in-car Walkman

Getting MP3 into your pocket has been a doddle, but getting it in your car has been a bit harder. A polite round of applause, then, for Sony’s enginee

Getting MP3 into your pocket has been a doddle, but getting it in your car has been a bit harder. A polite round of applause, then, for Sony’s engineers, who’ve just devised this simple solution – a removable, flash stereo for your wheels.

The GIGA Panel is an idiot’s dream of a system – you just remove the front panel, connect it to your PC via the mini USB port, load it with tunes via drag-and-drop, and pop it back in your car.

It’s thankfully a software-free process, and the 1GB flash memory has enough girth for up to 500 tracks, or 60 hours of music. Any PC with Windows 2000 XP or above will work, but Mac-heads will have to stick with their iPod-Griffin iTrip combo to fill their rides with digital tunes.

If you haven’t had time to rip your latest CDs, that’s no problem either – the GIGA Panel’s got a CD-player too, with a seat-vibrating 4 x 52W power output and a supplied IR remote.

Throw in the attractive blue lighting and some intuitive controls, and you’ve got a handy all-round boost to your car’s audio skills. Unfortunately, there’s no official price or release date yet, but it’s expected to land here in February for around £310. Check out www.sony-europe.com for more info.