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roadstor.jpg Micro Solutions Introduces RoadStor Portable Media Player
By Mike Pasini, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, October 24, 2003 - 09:58 EDT)

The $249 combined digital photo viewer with 6-in-1 card reader, CD burner, DVD player and MP3 player relies on a television for display. Everything else is built in.

We've been waiting a long time for an iPod equivalent for digital photographers. There have been several boxes with small hard drives coupled with card readers (selling between $300 and $500) but they all suffered the same flaw. You couldn't duplicate the images you copied to them without resorting to a computer.

Micro Solutions has addressed that need (and quite a bit more) with the RoadStor. It swaps out the hard disk for a CD burner. That also drops the price dramatically to $249.

The RoadStor's six-in-one memory card reader handles six formats, including SecureDigital, SmartMedia cards, MultiMedia Cards, Memory Stick, Compact Flash Type I and Type II cards and IBM MicroDrives.

You pop your card into the reader, burn the images to a CD (presumably in an ISO 9660 format, so you can add sessions) and make another copy while the card is in there. In fact, burn a few for your client, hosts, friends, even utter strangers passing by on the street.

The device reads CD-RW, CD-R and commercially pressed CD-ROMs, plays regular music CDs and reads DVD movie discs, DVD plus and dash (DVD +/-) videos and DVD data discs. A snap-on Lith-Ion battery provides about two hours of play time. The unit includes a remote control as well.

The company expects to start shipping at the end of the month.

See the full text of the press release below.

Original Source Press Release:

New RoadStor portable media player allows viewing and sharing of digital photos, audio and video, with or without a computer

Is first to combine digital photo viewer, CD burner, DVD and MP3 players all in one portable, easy-to-use device

DEKALB, Ill. - Oct. 21, 2003 - Micro Solutions, Inc. today introduced its new RoadStor portable media player, a compact yet powerful product for viewing, copying, toting and sharing digital photos, audio and video almost anywhere with or without a computer. It is the first product on the market to combine a digital photo viewer, CD burner, DVD player and MP3 player all in one package.

With its own snap-on rechargeable Lithium Ion battery that delivers two hours of continuous play time, and at about the size of a small hardback book, RoadStor travels easily. Simple to operate, it connects directly to a TV and works as a stand-alone device or as a PC or Mac accessory.

"RoadStor is like a Swiss Army knife for the digital media era and can be used in many fun and practical ways," said Pat Barron, vice president of sales at Micro Solutions. "Whether you want to share vacation videos and pictures among family and friends, keep the kids entertained during a road trip, burn CDs, listen to an MP3 song or make an important business presentation, RoadStor lets you do it all."

Powerful Features Yet Simple To Use

RoadStor incorporates many powerful features, but it's simple to use. Built-in video and S-Video output jacks and a stereo audio output jack allow it to easily connect directly to a TV for viewing digital photos and DVDs. Plus, its CD burner lets users quickly and easily make digital photo CDs from flash memory cards. With one touch of a button, this innovative product can take anything stored on a flash memory card and record it to a CD-R or CD-RW.

RoadStor's six-in-one flash memory card reader works with six different types of memory cards?including SecureDigital (SD) cards, SmartMedia (S M) cards, MultiMedia Cards (MMC), Memory Stick, Compact Flash (CF) type I and type II cards, and MicroDrives. These cards are forms of removable memory that work with many digital cameras, PDAs, cell phones and computers; consumers commonly use these cards to store their digital photos, MP3 files or other data. RoadStor will work with all of those items that are stored on these cards; it can play MP3 digital audio files, show JPEG digital photo files and play MPEG digital video files.

RoadStor also can be used for making music or data CDs for backup or storage.

It reads CD-RW, CD-R and regular CD-ROMs, plays regular music CDs and reads DVD movie discs, DVD plus and dash (DVD +/-) videos and DVD data discs. A remote control is included with the product, as well.

If a user wants to connect RoadStor to an Intel-based PC or Mac, the built-in USB 2.0 port will come in handy. The unit also is backward-compatible with the USB 1.1 ports found on many older computers.

Software bundled with RoadStor includes Micro Solutions SpeedyCD for creating and editing CD-R and CD-RW discs and CyberLink PowerDVD for playing DVDs.

Wide Variety of Uses

Thanks to its versatility and portability, RoadStor can be used in a wide variety of ways, for both leisure and business. For example:

A family can use RoadStor as its primary DVD player at home, or take RoadStor for on-the-road entertainment, if the vehicle is equipped with a TV screen for back-seat viewing;

Family and friends can use RoadStor to view a "slideshow" of vacation photos while still away from home, and burn CDs of the photos for everyone on the trip;

A leisure or business traveler can use RoadStor to watch a DVD movie or play favorite music in a hotel room;

A businessperson can use RoadStor to show a PowerPoint presentation stored on a flash memory card, CD or DVD, and then make a copy of the presentation on a CD-R to give to a client or colleague;

A real estate agent can use RoadStor to show pictures of homes for sale to potential buyers, and then create custom CDs for them with pictures of their most-eligible homes; and

Musicians can use RoadStor to make CDs of their best songs to give to prospective music publishers and pursue that "big break."

System Requirements

RoadStor does not need a computer; however, when connected to a computer, it requires Microsoft Windows 98, Me, 2000 SP3, or XP, or Mac OS 10.1.3 or above; USB 2.0 capability (for DVD video playback on a computer); IBM-compatible Pentium II or faster (for DVD video playback on a computer); 8MB or more of video RAM (recommended for DVD playback on a computer); and 16MB minimum and preferably 32MB of regular RAM. Audio/video input jacks and/or an S-Video input jack are needed for DVD video playback on a TV.

Pricing, Availability and Warranty

RoadStor (model number is 401010) has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $249 and will be available in late October through Micro Solutions Direct (accessible at www.micro-solutions.com), in the United States at CDW, Ingram, Insight, Office Depot and Tech Data, and in Canada at Best Buy, Future Shop and Staples. It comes with a one-year warranty. For more information, call Micro Solutions at 800-890-7227 or 815-756-3411, ext. 200, or visit the company's Web site at www.micro-solutions.com.

About Micro Solutions

Founded in 1980, Micro Solutions, Inc. pioneered parallel-port-attach mass storage technology. Its award-winning products are distributed worldwide at major retail outlets, through mail-order catalogs and Web sites, and through distribution. The privately held company is headquartered in DeKalb, Ill.

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