What does it do?
It plays and records MiniDiscs, which are, of course, like CDs but better in almost every possible way. The MT831H can record digitally - which means no loss of sound quality - from CDs, DAT and even digital broadcasts.
On a more straightforward business front, it is capable of recording up to 140 minutes of voice, again digitally, and there is the possibility of third-party software that will allow it to record data from computers.
What's the competition?
Almost every major electronics manufacturer (Sony, Toshiba, etc) offers MiniDisc players at various levels. Sharp's product distinguishes itself by boasting the longest battery life in the field; it's also very slim, very small and very pretty. And it comes complete with the standard extras - including remote control earphones.
When can I get it?
It's widely available now, priced around pounds 250.