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New Devices Push Video Into Small Hands

21 Apr, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner

Two companies are preparing to release new products that could redefine “kidvid” by not only content, but device.

Nintendo's Game Boy has long been the portable game platform of choice for the younger set, partly because of its compact size, light weight and the variety of titles available in the format.

Now Pocket PC Films, which makes media for palmtop devices, is partnering with Pocketainment to offer a plug-and-play adapter called the Pocket Pix Cartridge that will enable users to play other media, including video, on Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP platforms.

Pocket PC Films distributes its film and TV product on CD-ROM, enabling transfer via a USB port for play on palmtop devices. The adapter partnership will expand the range of playback devices to include Game Boy handhelds.

Set for a debut at E3 early next month, the Pocket Pix Cartridge is expected to retail for $59.95. The price includes the cartridge, synching cable, secure digital media card and a sample content CD-ROM. A version sans SD media card will be offered at $39.95. The adapter plugs into the game card slot. Pocket PC titles are available at prices from $9.99 to $19.99. New titles are planned for release monthly.

Meanwhile, toymaker Hasbro's subsidiary, Tiger Electronics, plans to release a portable video player for tweens that will play content stored on 3-inch minidisks on a new, 4-inch-by-6-inch player called VideoNow.

This player, however, plays only proprietary minidisks, which will be priced between $7.99 per disc and $14.99 for three packs. Each disc holds up to 30 minutes of programming. Characters already announced include SpongeBob SquarePants, Jimmy Neutron, the Fairly Odd Parents and “American Idol.” Actress Hilary Duff, who plays Lizzie McGuire in a TV series and film franchise, will stump for the device.

“One of our key objectives for the Tiger Electronics brand is creating great product that will bring tweens back to the toy aisle,” said Hasbro president of U.S. toys Brian Goldner. “We believe that VideoNow — both the technology and the content — will appeal to that more elusive, older range of kids and to their younger siblings as well.”

Tweens will like the blue or titanium color option, while parents will appreciate that it comes equipped with a headphone jack.

VideoNow will be available in the fall and will retail for $49.99, also with a sampler content disc included.

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