HandHeld Entertainment, the makers of the Zvue portable media centre has announced a new “Third Generation” of ZVUE portable media players, one of which includes wireless 802.11a/b/g connectivity.

The new Wi-Fi ZVUE (Model 500) will feature a 3.5-inch LCD screen with 320 x 240 resolution in a landscape-format that supports videos at 30 frames per second.

The new Wi-Fi ZVUE also features a minimum of 1GB of on-board Flash memory, both Compact Flash and secure digital/multimedia card slots (SD/MMC), a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and is compatible with Windows Media Video (WMV) and Windows Media Audio (WMA) through the use of Microsoft's secure Digital Rights Management (DRM) software. The company plans to have initial samples of the Wi-Fi ZVUE in February 2006.

“The new Wi-Fi ZVUE will give digital media lovers the ability to download videos and music from virtually anywhere they can connect to a wireless hot spot, without needing to be hooked to a personal computer", said Jeff Oscodar, president and chief executive officer of HandHeld Entertainment.

The Wi-Fi ZVUE will feature a phone style button pad on the front of the device, along with stop/play/fast-forward/rewind/menu navigation buttons.

The other “Third Generation” ZVUE (Model 400) being announced today is identical to the Wi-Fi ZVUE with the exception that it comes equipped with 512MB of on-board Flash memory, does not have wireless connectivity capabilities and it does not feature a phone style type keypad.

The new Wi-Fi ZVUE is expected to begin shipping in the second quarter of 2006 with an estimated retail price of less than $300.00.

The new ZVUE 400 is expected to begin shipping in the first quarter of 2006 with an estimated retail price of less than $225.00

UK prices and release dates have yet to be set.