Japan's Kenwood has announced what it claims is the world's smallest hard drive-based audio player, the Media Keg HD10GB7.

Available in either white or black (don't they know neon is soo in now?), the Media Keg contains a 10GB hard drive and will go on sale here in Japan in a few days' time for ¥40,000 (£177).

The new player handles all the usual audio formats and is light at just 78g, measuring 44 x 62 x 17mm. The screen is a 1.5-inch OLED (organic light emitting diode) display, and battery life is 24 hours for MP3 play-back and 20 hours for WMA.

Support for the copy-protected WMA DRM 10 means many online music stores, including Napster, are open for a spot of Media Keg business.

Media Keg v iPod nano

Setting aside the fact that the storage media is a regular, spinning hard drive, which is more fragile than flash memory, the Media Keg's competitor will most likely be Apple's iPod nano, so here are a few comparisons:

  • Weight: Nano, 40g Media Keg, 78g
  • Capacity: Nano, 8GB (max) Media Keg, 10GB
  • Battery:Nano, 24hrs Media Keg, 24hrs
  • Screen:Nano, 1.5-inch LCD Media Keg, 1.5-inch OLED
  • Price:Nano, £169 (8GB) Media Keg, £177

Clearly, it's a close call, which - in the race to dethrone Apple's entrenched market leader - may as well be a miss by a million miles. Nice try, Kenwood.