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MP3/PMP Roundup: HD Video, Health Apps

New MP3/portable media players (PMP) are on display from the following companies at International CES:

Coby: Five new video-playing MP3 players will be unveiled, each available in multiple capacities and all featuring a sleeker cosmetic design. One is a full- touchscreen model.

The lineup starts with the MP601 with 1.44-inch color screen, FM tuner, and playback of MP3 and WMA music files, WMV video files, JPEG photos and TXT files for e-books. It comes in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB versions. The MP620 adds 1.8-inch screen and comes in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB versions. The step-up MP707 adds support for subscription-music download services and more A/V file formats. The additional formats are OGG for music, BMP and GIF for photos, and for video, the AVI, WMV, MPEG-4 and ASF formats. It comes in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB versions.

The next step up is the MP727, which adds 2.4-inch screen and availability in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB versions. The full-touchscreen MP837, available in 8GB and 16GB versions, adds 3-inch touchscreen. Prices were unavailable.

Haier: The company is displaying a new touchscreen-equipped MP3/video player as well as launching a second-generation MP3 player with integrated heart-rate monitor and pedometer.

The touchscreen model is the Theater at $89.99 for 4GB version and about $99.99 for the 8GB version, each with 3-inch capacitive touchscreen, video playback, shake control to change songs by shaking the device, and accelerometer for displaying information and video in portrait or landscape mode. It also incorporates voice recorder and 12 hours of audio playback on a single charge of the embedded lithium-ion battery. As part of the purchase, Haier offers 35 free music downloads and a free audio book from eMusic with a 14-day trial of eMusic’s subscription-download service.

The music-only Trainer 2, due in the first quarter at about $59.99, features 1-inch OLED negative display, FM tuner, 2GB memory, pedometer, stopwatch, heart-rate monitor, Heartpal software for PCs, and three-axis G sensor to measure motion in multiple directions and distinguish between walking and running. It is available with 35 free downloads from eMusic.

Philips: The $149-suggested GoGear Muse, one of three new MP3 players and PMPs, is the company’s first PMP to store HD video. It features 3.2-inch HVGA color touchscreen, 720p video storage, 16GB memory, mini-HDMI output, MicroSD card slot, FM radio with RDS, compressed-audio enhancer, native playback of the lossless FLAC and APE audio codecs, and five hours of video playback on its rechargeable battery.

The $99-suggested Activa MP3 player captures workout data for exercise enthusiasts and displays it in real time. Included PC software also tracks workout progress. The clip-on Activa offers sweat-proof headphones.

The $49.99-suggested GoGear Vibe is a 4GB MP3 player with 1.5-inch color display, FM radio with RDS and 20 presets, voice recorder, compressed-audio enhancer, and storage of subscription-based music downloads from Napster and Rhapsody. smart shuffle feature prioritizes the songs that a user has played the most. It comes with soft-rubber ear buds.

RCA by Audiovox: Five new MP3 players and PMPs under the RCA Lyra brand include models with touch controls and one thumb-drive model. One PMP, the M21, features 25-hour built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery.

Samsung: Two new PMPs are the 16GB YP-H1 with low-power-consumption AMOLED touchscreen display and the 8GB YP-W1, which incorporates exercise and health-management applications. Both ship in the first half. Prices were unavailable.

The YP-H1 features 2-inch touch-enabled display at top so users can hold and navigate with one hand. Three buttons on the lower sides control volume and power/hold, leaving other functions to be accessed by the touchscreen user interface. It features transparent tempered glass on front, FM tuner, compressed-sound restoration technology and playback of multiple video formats.

The YP-W1, billed as wellness promoting, includes fat and stress sensors, customizable exercise-management program, and programs for water-intake management, smoking cessation and others. It also features FM tuner and sound-enhancement technology.

Prices and additional details were unavailable.

ViewSonic: A new PMP called the MovieBook features 5-inch screen and storage of high-definition 720p video. It connects to a TV to display stored video via 3.5mm-to-component-video cable. It also display e-books in the TXT format.

It’s among only a handful of PMPs with large screens, joining an Archos model with 5-inch screen and another Archos model with 7-inch screen, both called Internet Media Tables (IMTs) by Archos because of their Wi-Fi Web-browsing ability.

The $179-suggested VPD500 MovieBook stores 720p video and features 800 by 480 LCD display, 8GB of embedded memory, MicroSD slot for additional memory, and rechargeable battery with up to 12 hours of audio playback or six hours of video playback. It ships in three colors in the first quarter at a suggested $179, including remote.