Mattel’s Juice Box Media Player for Kids

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.

Mattel’s press release

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JUICE BOX Personal Media Player (Blue)
JUICE BOX Personal Media Player (Red)

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?