Toshiba is planning to launch its Gigabeat digital music players in Europe and the USA in the first quarter of 2005.

The first players to go on sale will be its F series models, which were announced in Japan, where they have been available since January. There are three models in the range with hard-disk sizes of 10GB, 20GB and 60GB. The drives for all three players are produced in-house by Toshiba and the company says the new Gigabeat is the first digital music player to use the 60GB drive.

The players also include 2.2in QVGA (240x320 pixels) colour LCD (liquid crystal display) that act as the main display and can also show album art for songs stored on the device.

Music can be transferred from a PC via Toshiba's "Gigabeat Room" software and the system supports a one-touch ripping function. When the Gigabeat is in its cradle and connected to the PC, users need only insert a CD into the PC's optical drive and ripping can be accomplished by the single press of a button on the cradle.

Prices for the players have only been announced for the Japan market, where they will go on sale from late November. The 10GB model will cost ¥39,800 (£197) and the 20GB model will cost ¥44,800 (£222). The 60GB model will be on sale from early December and will cost ¥64,800 (£320).