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Nextar Launches iPod Touch Clone

Consumers who don't want to pay the hefty Apple prices for the iPod Touch may want to check out Nextar's cheaper offering, the MA809. Honestly, iPod Touch sounds cooler.

At first, it appeared that Nextar's MA809 Widescreen MP4 player might actually be an Apple iPod Touch clone, however, upon examining what the device actually offers in comparison to its Apple counterpart, that initial assumption might have been a bit unfair. Still, at first glance, that's exactly what this device looks like: a cheaper version of the iPod Touch that could easily find its way into Radio Shack, Sears or behind the retail counter at CVS.

What makes this device attractive is its price: $100 for the 2 GB version, $120 for the 4 GB version, and $150 for the 8 GB version. By comparison, Apple's iPod Touch 8 GB model costs $280, making the Nextar MA809 a cheaper, $80 option. The drawback is that apparently there is no touch screen capability, as the deice features a 2.8-inch TFT (Thin Film Transistor) liquid crystal display with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Still, the MA809 offers consumers a built-in FM tuner, something the iPod Touch doesn't have... and probably doesn't even need.

“The new Nextar portable media player comes with everything users need to enjoy their own play-anywhere personal home theater,” remarked Eddy Zheng, Nextar founder. “Crisp, clear audio with MP3 and WMA file support; 400x240 image resolution shown in 16:9 wide-screen format, FM tuner with FM recording, integrated voice recorder, and built-in speaker are all included. It even has stopwatch and calendar capabilities. Anyone who enjoys the latest in personal AV products will love this player.”

According to the company, the device comes packed with software that enables users to convert video into the AVI format with a 400x240 resolution. On the audio side, not only does the device support MP3 and WMA, there's a built-in equalizer with eight pre-sets: normal, MSEQ, rock, pop, classic, bass, jazz, and user EQ. The device also supports up to twenty languages including English, Spanish, German, French, Russian, and Japanese. Video and audio files are transferred onto the device through a USB 2.0 connection.

Additionally, the MA809 is DRM9 compatible, and even provides up to eight hours of continuous music play or up to three hours of video viewing via its rechargeable Lithium Ion battery. The built-in micro-SD reader accepts cards up to 2 GB, and the device even features a built-in stopwatch and calendar functions via the firmware OS. What consumers won't see here is Wi-Fi support and the ability to download and install applications. However, the company said that it is fully upgradable to future formats and features, so perhaps there are plans to add additional goodies via a firmware update in the months ahead.

Ultimately, Nextar's offering is geared more towards the consumer wanting to not only save money, but to use the device as a media player rather than a multifunctional tool. For the price, the MA809 serves as a good alternative, perhaps even a great gift for the kids.