Toshiba drops a bomb: Gigabeat V in the US

Well, well, well -- it seems that Toshiba's been up to more in the portable media space lately than just helping Microsoft out with the Zune manufacturing. In fact, ole Tosh has been working on a DTV-less version of its Japanese OneSeg-capable 30GB V30T; shake off the TV tuner, and you've got America's own MEV30K. This model borrows many of its features from the popular S series -- including Microsoft's Portable Media Center software, WMV9, WMV10, and PlaysForSure video playback, plus support for MP3, WMA, WMA lossless, WAV, and Windows DRM 9 / 10 audio files -- but, like the V30T, tosses what will probably be some well-received spec bumps into the mix. Besides the addition of a built-in speaker, the main changes here involve screen size and battery life: the V30K sports a 3.5-inch TFT LCD (compared to the 2.5-incher on the S, though both share the same QVGA resolution) and promises up to 8 hours of video or 25 hours of audio playback on a full charge (as opposed to the meager 2.5 and 12 hour lifespans for video and audio, respectively, on the S). We're sure that there are more than few people interested in this stamina-filled $400 Gigabeat, so the good news is that pre-ordering begins today through Crutchfield and Amazon, though a nationwide rollout is not expected until sometime in October. Let the iPod comparisons commence!