updated 05:00 pm EDT, Wed August 23, 2006
New D-Snap and D-dock
Including a card slot for extra storage on a digital audio player is increasingly common. What isn't common is relying solely on that slot without sacrificing features. Panasonic's D-snap players have largely taken this unusual route. Today, the company took the added step of releasing both two new players and two interesting new stereo units that complement them. The SV-SD800N and 400V both share a wafer-thin, narrow design reminiscent of the iPod nano but use SD cards alone for storage (a 128MB card is included). Much like the Sony A1200, the new D-snaps have a stealth OLED screen that merges with a mirror-finish shell. The new players are also notable for including a pair of noise-cancelling earbuds, a rare feature for any manufacturer. Click through for news and a photo of the equally surprising D-dock stereo.
Panasonic's D-dock is, much like the iPod stereo docks we know in North America, meant to serve as a speaker and a docking station for its host player. Its distinct advantage is the ability to transfer CD audio to the player without the use of a computer. Instead, users load the music from their CDs on to a hard drive in the D-dock - 80GB for the SX450 model and 160GB for the SX850 pictured below - letting the stereo use its library of 350,000 album titles to automatically name the majority of the music without user intervention. For now, all the new D-snap players and D-dock stereos remain Japan-only, but this is one of the few Panasonic digital audio releases that might easily gain support for a North American launch.