Mattel are launching their new Juice Box media player on 17th October. The cute little gadget is intended to introduce kids between the ages of 8 and 12 to the delights of digital media.
Since the Juice Box will play MP3s, photos and video clips delivered through proprietary Juiceware media cards that store nearly three hours of content, you too can introduce your offspring to the frustration of proprietary formats and DRM schemes before they even get to secondary school. The cards will cost about US$10 (€8.11) for two episodes of an animated series, up to US$25 (€20) for a feature, and the format used is based on a technology developed by 4Kids Entertainment.
Initially, Mattel will be offering content from BMG Music, Cartoon Network, WWE and the Learning Channel for the Juice Box. If you don’t want your audio and picture content to be locked into someone else’s DRM, kids can buy a separate “MP3 Starter Kit” which comes with a standard SD card so they can play MP3s and view pictures from their PCs. No video though – and the kit will cost and additional US$45 (€37).
The 11.5 x 8.5 x 1.5 inch device has a 3 inch LCD and will run for six hours on three AA batteries (also not included), and features a built in speaker plus headphone connector. So that the US$70 (€57) Juice Box doesn’t get scratched to bits whilst tumbling around in the bottom of a rucksack, it comes with a flip cover to protect the display.
€20 for a low resolution film on a card that you can’t watch anywhere else? And how well is Nintendo’s cartoon player for the GameBoy Advance doing anyway? And the Zvue? I think you can already see my point here.