The Eco Media Player
I think that in today's environmentally-aware age, it's wise to choose our gadgets carefully and try to use ones that are as "green" as possible. Do we really need 300 things in our house that take batteries?
So, I was thrilled to discover the about-to-be-released Eco Media Player. Created by Trevor Baylis (the same man who invented the popular Baygen wind-up radio) has combined that technology with the MP3 player. That's right, an MP3 player that is crank powered. A brilliant combination of hi-tech and old-school.
You will only need to wind the device for about 1 minute to get 40 minutes of playing time, or you could also charge the internal batteries via a USB socket. At maximum charge, you will get around 20 hours of playtime with the device.
And it's a fully featured little gadget too. It has a 1.8 inch colour screen and 2GB of memory (enough for about 500 songs). The memory can be further expanded with a SD card. The Eco Media Player will not only play music, but also show videos, record sound, display photos, store data and even function as an ebook reader. It's a powerhouse of entertainment ability. Did I mention the tiny LED flashlight?
When plugged into your computer via the USB port, the player will act like an external drive, so you can move files back and forth with ease. It accepts file formats such as GIF, BMP, JPG, MP3, WAV, WMA, and AVI. You will need a converter to use WMV and AVI though.
Now, the EMP isn't as tiny or sleek as some other MP3 players like the iPod. But it will fit comfortably in a pocket or the palm of your hand. It's about the size of a computer mouse.
You will be able to get the Eco Media Player at the end of August 2007, though some online stores are taking pre-orders now. It seems that only stores in the UK are expecting to have this item, so you may have to shop abroad for this cutting-edge eco-gadget.
The cost is expected to be around £169.99 (or approximately $350 US). Admittedly not a cheap gadget, but not completely unreasonable for a hand-held portable device like this. A 2GB iPod Nano is around $150, by comparison. Though the Nano doesn't play video, nor has a handy flashlight.
You don't buy ecologically sound products like this because you're looking to save a buck. That's not the point. Buying something as innovative as the Eco Media Player is making a statement about your commitment to helping the environment. I think that is worth something.