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Logitech introduces touchscreen network music player

Logitech has introduced the Squeezebox Touch, a network music player that, as it names suggests, is controlled using a 4.3in touchscreen.

A network music player with a touchscreen may sound like a gimmick, but we think it's a good idea as even the best designed models can be a little cumbersome to control given the huge number of features they contain. We tried out a preproduction model of Logitech's Squeezebox Touch at the IFA conference in Berlin and came away generally impressed.

Although the Squeezebox Touch doesn't support multitouch, it does recognise at least some gestures such as swiping your fingers across the screen in different directions to see the currently playing song or radio station and to navigate back to the previous menu.

Although we didn't have time to explore it extensively, the hierarchical menu system appears logically organise and should be familiar to anyone who has ever used a modern MP3 player such as an iPod. The firmware on the demonstration model we saw was still in beta so the touchscreen sometimes felt sluggish and unresponsive when pressed but hopefully this will be fixed in the final shipping units.

Extra features can be added to the Squeezebox Touch using third party plug ins. Several were preinstalled on the model we saw, so we could carry out tasks such as listen to music from last.fm and log on to Facebook. Available plug-ins can be browsed and installed without the aid of a computer using the touchscreen. Logitech claims that plug-ins will be easy to develop as they are written in nothing more than XML, but the company couldn't comment on whether there will be a screening process as there is with the App Store on Apple's iPhone.

Logitech's Squeezebox will be available in the UK from December at a suggested retail price of £259, which is expensive, even for a network media player, especially as you'll also need to supply your own set of speakers. We'll bring you a full review as soon as we get one into our Labs.

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