There’s a buzz around the web about some soon-to-be-announced “mini-iPods” that are supposed to be much smaller than the current iPods, though capacity will be limited to 2 or 4 gigs. While the technology is certainly there (though some naysay it’s impossible) the real speculation is around the price. Reportedly Apple will be releasing mini-iPods starting at just $100. While I think it’s unlikely that any high capacity players are likely to come it at $100, it’s possible that Apple has a plan in the works for a wide selection of music players, some flash-based and some using a hard-drive like the current iPods. Flash players could start at $100, while 2-4 gig HD mini-iPods players would probably start around $300-$400. That would give Apple a wide variety of music products to capitalize on the iPods success, and encourage the use of iTunes as well. Smart move.
But if you absolutely can’t wait for the mini-iPod’s release, or if you don’t like the idea of being tied to Apple’s high prices, non-removable batteries, and less-than-ideal PC compatibility, Creative has got a mini-iPod of their own. The new MuVo2, already available in 512 mb, 1 gig and 1.5 gig flash flavors, will soon be available with a 4 gig HD. The new unit, which measures just 2.6″ x 2.6″ x 0.8″, boasts a 14 hour battery life from the removable battery and uses a CF sized hard-drive for music storage. It uses USB 2.0 for transfer of music, has a removable battery, and appears to have a jack for headphone remote. It will play Windows Media files as well as MP3, so while iTunes won’t work seemlessly, other music services like Napster will. Price is just under $400, available immediately in Asia, expected soon in the US.