I was in some electronics store last week and stumbled on the Olympus M:ROBE series of music+ gadgets.

I don’t think either are going to be any kind of real competition to Apple’s iPod but both are among the more sexy designs available. Lots of the digital audio players that are out look pretty bad.

There are 2 models. The MR-100 model is the smaller one, it’s about the size of an iPod mini and has 5gig of space as well. It’s got an all touch screen control. There are no actual buttons, just a flat surface with pre-etched red-orange icons glowing under it. You slide your fingers over it to go through menus and/or adjust stuff. The display at the top is also red-orange. If they could have gotten the display’s black to 100% match the non-display’s black it would look perfect. I have no idea if the interface is actually good or not. Not being able to feel the buttons might make it hard to use without looking directly at it but still, it looks cool.

The MR-500i model is bigger. Bigger than an iPod-Photo. But, instead of being cluttered with controls it as well has no controls. The whole thing is a display which is all touch screen.

Touch it and controls appear. Very slick. Also as the display is large it’s great for photos. Even more crazy, it’s got a digital camera built in.

Sadly it’s only a 1megapixel camera.

One thing they didn’t get right though is speed. My friend has an iPod-Photo and it’s amazing how quickly you can shuffle through your photos. The MR-500i felt like a typical digital camera in that going through pictures took time. Even if it was only a second or two to pull up an index page it was still too long once you’ve used better.

Also they have this silly idea that users are going to want to make slideshows with fancy cuts to music and put lots of features for that in it. I can’t really imagine anyone trying that out more than once if even at all.

But, in any case, they certainly do inspire ideas about new gadgets. An iPod with a larger screen and a more Apple like interface would rock. Casio and other companies have shown they can put a decent point and shoot digital camera in a package this size so it’s only a matter of time before we get something like say the Sony DSC-T3 merged with a 20+gig HD, a great interface and music software.

  • what?

    You’re right about the silly idea of making slideshows with music (but this is for the Japanese market, so you never know). However, the Ipod photo totally blows IMO. If I wanted to look at pictures, I’d do so on my digital camera with which I could possibly take more pictures if I felt like it. The I-pod photo does not allow you to take any pictures which is the main thing that makes it useless (other than having a color display, which is good). If Apple released an Ipod with a better display (Japanese cellphones blow any LCD display I’ve seen on digital equipment from the US out of the water), I’d possibly think about buying an Ipod, but as it stands shelling out US$500 for a music player is Just Not Worth It. Unless of course it could take pictures….

    There are three things (bear with me) I could possibly use in a peice of plastic that’d I’d carry around with me:

    1) Music player

    2) Calender + time

    3) Camera/Photo Viewer (notice how these go together)

    4) (I lied) Cellphone capabilities

    Everything else is fluff. Now the M:Robe is almost there… it just needs 20 gigs of space (and of course phone capabilities).

  • 20gigs

    the MR500i does have 20gigs.  No cell phone though. 🙁  I think if only because of battery issues I prefer to keep my cellphone separate from my music/video player but then again, if they solve the battery problem I wouldn’t care.

  • 455pm

    I can’t seems to be able to installe M:trip japanese version onto windows XP English

    can i use any 3rd party like WMP for it?


  • 158pm

    I am having the same problem! I can’t install m:trip japanese version onto window XP english~

    Does anybody know how to solve this problem~~ I really need help!!


  • If it’s the Japanese version with Japanese software

    you probably need to put XP in Japanese mode.



  • Kent
    m:trip problem again

    Hey man~ thanks for the info below~

    However I am still not able to install the “M:TRIP”

    During the installing process a window pops up shows:

    Install support file ‘C:\\DOCUME~1\\KENTLI~1\\LOCALS~1\\Temp\\{FABFD4E4-9216-4CF8-A594-F63AC74FEC3C}\\isrt.dll’ can’t be installed (written in japanese)

    Access is denied.

    after that another window pops up shows:


    error occured during setup (written in japanese)

    The remote procedure call failed.

    Do you have any idea on how to solve this problem??

    Please help~~ Thank you

  • iceman

    I am having trouble to install the Japanese m:trip onto my Chinese windows system as well.  Could some body help to share their m:trip English version on a ftp site or eMule?  Many people will be glad if some one can help us out here.  🙁   Thank you so much!!

  • LatinoinTokyo
    M:trip on English XP

    I installed the japanese version of m:trip Version 105 on my English XP. I think the only requisite is lo activate the East lAsian aguage setting on the Regional and Language Option on the Cointrol Panel. This will allow the sustem to read and write on japnese, Chinese and Korean.

    Can someone share their m:trip English version with me? I am looking for the EWnglish Version to compare… well… honestly I feel more confortable reading in English than in Japanese.

    If you need the update for m:trip version 105 (JP) contact me




  • TheLeo
    English version

    I just inloved of m:robe and I buy it, but unfortunately I don’t speak japaneese…

    The software is Japaneese only!!!

    Can anyone share an english version??

    thks a lot!!

  • TexanChineseboy

    installing m:trip is like pain in an ASS, crazy software engineers, and crazy customer ( I mean if this little thing is ugly, I would just return and won’t even try install, English on Chinese win, or Jap on Chinese win, or such and such) 

    I will keep testing see what’s going on and let u all know

  • TexanChineseboy

    I double posted because I did not “ABC” checked my thead.

    ok it is me again,

    I successfully install the English m:trip to my Chinese XP , it happened to having some windows components are missed , and which is the below : 


    This is for chinese windows, and accordingly, if u are using english WinXP u should find the english pack, then japanese to japanese.

    I didnot try to  install the  japanese version yet, because the m:trip is causing too much crashes, end up, I have to disable some startup programs in safe mode, so that I can have M:trip to put on start up tray

    But HEY!! I have 2GB ram, shit!

    Anyway I am willing to try harder

    2nd problem, don’t update the english 1.05 yet, because it caused problem, and I can’t sync the mp3 file on the external harddrive.

    All in all I will still trying.  But Olympus Software Engineers SUCK !!! Ok I meant it, and I really meant it. The software should have done some testing before launching, and don’t forget a lot of Olympus products are made in China , and have no Chinese software support = SUCKS!!!!

    No matter in terms of nationality or software functionality or even stability.  I think you guys needed to upgrade you CPU from 386 to Pentium I.  Ok 

    Why am I so mad??  Coz I bought both of the 100 and 500.

  • MiniMa

    I hope u can finish the JP vision problem.because i have same problem. 

    JP version to chinese WIN …still canot install.  ><“

    IF anyone have the English viosion ..PLS .. LET Me KNOW or MAIL TO ME ..THX  A LOT .. T_T

  • Jo
    Can you get m:robe 100 to show Chinese Titles for songs?
  • mrobe500i
    chinese characters on the mrobe?

    can this be done?

  • dave
    chinese characters on the mrobe 500i

    yes it can display chinese characters.

    mtrip should already handle the characters for you.

    look to mrobe.org for more discussion and mtrip replacement

  • dave
  • Phongdatthanh

    i can’t install m-trip 105 or 106 to winxp. So that i can’t update Firware.
    Please help me install m-trip to windows xp.