Nurian Z1 launches in Korea
I’ve been watching the Korean My Nurian website for about three months now, just waiting and waiting for the Z1 to make an appearance. You remember the Nurian Z1, right? It’s that Windows CE 5.0 Pro device that calls itself an e-dictionary even though it’s packing a 5" touchscreen (640 x 480), USB host port, Flash player, and wi-fi connectivity. In other words, it’s the gadget I’ve been obsessing over in spite of all the recent developments in the UMPC space (eo TufTab, Asus T83, and others).
So you can probably imagine how happy I was to discover the other night that the Z1 finally has a product page. Several pages, in fact, and they’re full of new pictures, a new price, and loads of text that Google and Babelfish can’t translate because it’s just a series of GIF images (grr!).
E-dictionaries with MP3 and other PMP capabilities are all the rage in Asia (I’d almost go so far as to equate them with iPods in the U.S.), where the Z1 is likely going to stay, but I’m still hoping I can get one from an importer (I bought my Korea-only iriver D26 from eBay).
It’s bearing a price of about $508 (it used to be $533), which is completely ridiculous, but I think I could justify the cost to my twisted self if I can get it in the new "romantic pink" color. And in case you were wondering, the other one is called "mint blue."
The design could use some work, I agree, but the GUI is nice, colorful, and cartoon-ish.
I don’t know much about WinCE 5.0 Professional, but the bits of English in some of the screenshots and the little "KO" shown in the system tray below leads me to believe that the system can be converted into English.
If that’s the case, then I’d really like to get my hands on a Z1 immediately. Some of the dictionary content may not make it through the conversion, but I really don’t care about that anyway. I’m already only using the English dictionary in the iriver D26 (which, by the way, is completely untranslatable), and the Z1’s selling point is its wi-fi feature. The 640 x 480 resolution isn’t ideal for Web browsing, but it’s better than the 320 x 240 screen on the Sony mylo. And I use the mylo pretty often.
I think the Z1 would make a nice little companion device, akin to the HTC Advantage maybe. (The Nurian doesn’t have calling capabilities, of course, but the size of the Advantage hardly lends itself to phone usage.)
It’s really a shame that e-dictionaries don’t have the same market here in the U.S. that they do in other parts of the world because I think they’d be pretty popular. Throw in some SAT/GRE prep (Asian e-dictionaries usually come with TOEIC study aids) and they could be the ultimate ubergadgets for inside and outside of the classroom. American consumer electronics with educational merit being aimed at teenagers? Fancy that!