The people over at Engadget went all ga-ga about a new mp3 player out of China. They called them “cheap-as-free”:
While not the most attractive or featured-filled of their kind, there’s really no arguing with the price on these DAPs. The 512MB version of the Ainol V3 retails for a mere $50 (in China, of course), and packs in MP3, WMA, WAV and OGG codec support, a 1.3-inch screen running at 160 x 129 for a bit of photo viewing or text reading, FM radio, USB 2.0 and a most welcome miniSD slot. There’s also a rechargeable battery included that should last up to 8 hours, and the V3 manages to squeeze it all into 0.5-inch thick enclosure. If 512MB plus whatever miniSD sticks you have lying around isn’t enough storage, you can always jump to the 1GB version for $69.
Many commenters has a good laugh at the name “Ainol” and wondered how it was supposed to be pronounced (the Chinese name of the brand is actually 艾诺 or ai nuo and it means “love and promise”). And other commenters wondered when the V3 would be available in the UK and the US. We don’t know about that, but we do know the V3 is available now on Chinese eBay (here) and Taobao (here) and some of their shopkeepers may be willing to ship overseas. The lowest price we see is RMB 328, or about US$41.
There are other similar devices — perhaps with fewer features and no miniSD slot — on sale for even cheaper prices at Tabao. We saw some pretty cheap “iPod Shuffles” — buyer beware.