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Olympus m:robe MR-500i & MR-100 Motion Music Player

Olympus has just announced the arrival of the m:robe MR-500i and m:robe
MR-100 in Singapore. The sleek and compact m:robe MR-500i Motion Music Player
puts 20GB of music and images at users fingertips with unique “No Button”
touch-screen interface and MUSIC, IMAGE and MIXING Functions. RRP of the m:robe
MR-500i is S$ 828 (inclusive of GST). On the other hand, the 5GB m:robe MR-100
presents an aesthetically-compelling choice for consumers looking for a
high-performance portable digital music player. m:robe MR-100’s RRP is S$ 399
(inclusive of GST). Limited quantities of the m:robe MR-500i and m:robe MR-100
will be available for the first time in Singapore at the IT Show 2005 from 10 to
13 March 2005. They will subsequently be available island-wide from April 2005

Olympus, the industry leader in opto-digital technologies and pioneer in the
digital camera market, today introduced its very first sets of Motion Music
Players, the new Olympus m:robe MR-500i and Olympus m:robe MR-100.

The launch of the m:robe series in Singapore follows closely after the
introduction of the revolutionarily-designed Olympus µ-mini DIGITAL, thereby
reinforcing Olympus’ commitment in taking product design innovation to a higher
level of style and functionality. In addition, the introduction of the
cutting-edge m:robe products marks Olympus’ effort in combining its audio
expertise with its optical heritage to create products that embody the best of
both sound and vision.

Olympus m:robe MR-500i

m:robe MR-500i redefines the portable Motion Music Player market
The MR-500i is the flagship model in the m:robe series that combines a
20-gigabyte Motion Music Player with a 1.22-megapixel digital camera to create a
compact and stylish device unlike any other player in the market.

With its unique “No Button” flat touch-screen interface incorporated into a
vibrant 3.7-inch color VGA LCD display, music and digital images spring into
action in several dynamic and captivating slideshows, with a few touches of the
fingertips of the MUSIC, IMAGE and MIXING functions.

Users also have the advantage of remixing their freshly-taken pictures captured
using the built-in camera, with their favourite music tracks to create their own
“life stories” wherever the go.

Essentially, the MR-500i reinvents the humble photo album, altering it from
something that is left on a coffee table to a portable device that allows users
to share it with others. The MR-500i uses either images taken by its own
built-in lens or imported images, and synching them with music to create an
interactive slideshow with audio.

Elegant simplicity with intelligently designed interface
Olympus is the only company today that uses a touch-screen interface on a
portable music player. The design of the MR-500i is elegant and simple both
inside and out, with an easy-to-use interface that eliminates all unnecessary
buttons and allows users to organize and access images and music in a way that
makes sense.

On the surface, the all-black face of the MR-500i is as flat and smooth as
glass, and its contoured body is strikingly compact at a mere 109 (W) x 73 (H) x
21 (D) mm and 209.8 g that can be easily slipped into a pocket, purse or
backpack. The back and sides of its body are of a pristine, incandescent white.

With the push of the ON button located on the side of its body, the MR-500i’s
bright 3.7-inch backlit color VGA touch-screen display (640 x 480 resolution)
bursts into life with three main icons for MUSIC, PHOTO and REMIX.

Touching the MUSIC icon on this intuitive interface brings up any of the 5,000
songs (WMA/MP3 format) that can be stored on the 20-gigabyte hard drive. The
bundled ear-bud headphones provides high-fidelity audio, and users can make
adjustments to the Equalizer to control the throbbing bass, subtle mid-range and
crisp treble tones, or choose from several custom EQ settings.

Further, as the MR-500i is as much about seeing as it is about hearing, it can
display not just song titles and lyrics, but also the CD cover of the musician’s
work if the image is uploaded to the player.

The ability to easily adjust volume, EQ, search songs by keyword, album, artist,
genre, top 10 hits and favorites, and sort all images in albums at the touch of
a finger, means the MR-500i delivers music and images in a user-friendly
interface. This is made possible by an intelligent search capability that runs
on a dual chipset design. Not only that, a wired remote that features a two-line
LCD display connected to the ear-buds makes it possible to control the MR-500i
while it is tucked out of sight.

Touching the PHOTO icon on the MR-500i main menu instantly transforms it into a
1.22-megapixel point-and-shoot digital camera. The VGA touch-screen acts as a
large 3.7-inch monitor that allows users to compose and review images taken with
the camera located on the back of the MR-500i. There is no shutter button and
you will never lose that “special moment” – users just tap anywhere on the
touch-screen and instantly take digital images of a resolution that is perfect
for emailing or viewing on the MR-500i. Images can be viewed in a variety of
ways: all at once, by album, or by date in a calendar view.
It is possible to upload digital images taken by any camera, at any resolution,
from a PC to the MR-500i – making it a great way to bring your photo collection
to the party. Being PictBridge-enabled, the MR-500i can connect quickly and
easily to any printer that incorporates the PictBridge standard via the
auto-connect USB 2.0 cable, without the need to use a PC, and print out photos
taken by the MR-500i or other imported images that are stored on it.

Things get even wilder when the REMIX icon is tapped. “Remix Play” combines both
music and images into animated slideshows to create a soundtrack for any
occasion. Firstly, users have to choose the photos to be included in the remix,
followed by one of the available Remix Templates – Flash Back, Tiles, Geometric,
or Birthday – and then the song to accompany the remix. Sit back and watch the

The MR-500i makes the experience interactive and more enjoyable than simply
flipping through the pages of a silent photo album. Additional Remix Templates
are planned in the near future and will be available for download from Olympus’

Getting more out of the MR-500i
The MR-500i was designed as a complete “out-of-box” solution, hence it comes
bundled with a cradle that allows users to synchronize songs and images, as well
as charge the player’s Lithium Polymer battery in 3 hours to deliver 8 hours of
quality playback time. Without the cradle, users can also charge the MR-500i
using PC/laptops via the USB 2.0 cable.

Downloading songs and images from a PC to the player via the high speed USB 2.0
connection is fast and easy thanks to the included “m:trip” Photo/Music
Management Software for Windows operating systems. The m:trip application can
also be used to play music captured from CDs or purchased from online music
stores, and allows images captured with the MR-500i or another digital camera to
be viewed or combined with music in various ways, and in addition, to save

The MR-500i also comes with external jacks and wires to connect to a stereo,
receiver or television for playback of images and music to a crowd. Not only
that, the MR-500i also doubles up as an external hard drive, where files can
simply be “dragged-and-dropped” between the PC and MR-500i.

VR-Zone is a leading online technology news publication reporting on bleeding edge trends in PC and mobile gadgets, with in-depth reviews and commentaries.

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