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Philips GoGear Connect 3 PMP and Fidelio Android dock: release dates, prices, and our hands-on preview

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Basic economics would seem to dictate that if you're going to build an Android device with a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen and the dimensions of a typical smartphone, you should probably include a 3G radio and just call it a smartphone. Not so for the purists of Philips, whose GoGear Connect 3 is dubbed a Wi-Fi MP4 Player. It's an uncomplicated little unit with either 8GB or 16GB of storage, HVGA (480 x 320) resolution, a speaker built into its side, and an 1,100mAh battery rated to last for up to 25 hours of audio or 4 hours of video (up to 720p) playback. The Connect 3 comes with Android 2.3.3 and access to the Android Market.

Unfortunately, we found lag pervades the user experience with this PMP, so even if you do have the vast libraries of Android apps at your disposal, you might find yourself discouraged from accessing them -- simply because this non-phone isn't all that fast. The three physical keys are all mechanical, which takes a little getting used to after all the capacitive surfaces we've been using lately, but it's not an unpleasant experience. We might have preferred them a little smaller, however. There's a great deal of bezel to behold and the 11.2mm thickness isn't exactly groundbreaking, either -- any suggestions that the Connect 3 could rival the iPod touch should be dismissed immediately.

Pricing is set at €169 for 8GB and €189 for the 16GB GoGear Connect 3. The media player will launch in October, which is also when Philips will introduce its new range of Fidelio Android speaker docks. We snapped a few photos of the AS851 model, which will cost €199.99 and hook up to any Android 2.1+ device via Bluetooth. Its big innovation is in the use of a FlexiDock solution that puts a MicroUSB connector on a moving swivel, so that whatever peculiar Android handset you may have can be docked and charged. There's also a multifunctional remote and the two speakers are rated at 15W each. In our brief time with the dock, we found sound output satisfyingly crisp and even loud enough to overcome the din of the passing crowd. See more of the Fidelio dock and the GoGear Connect 3 after the break.