Virgin Electronics today unveiled a new 5 GB hard-drive based digital-music player designed to compete with Apple Computer's iPod mini.

Virgin Electronics today unveiled a new 5 GB hard-drive based digital-music player designed to compete with Apple Computer's iPod mini.

The device represents the first major product offering from the re-christened consumer electronics arm of Richard Branson's Virgin Group formerly known as Virgin Pulse.

The product, the Virgin Electronics Player, costs $249 and claims 25% more storage capacity than the 4 GB mini. It also boasts an FM tuner, and is compatible with Microsoft's Windows Media rights management technology.

The Virgin Player comes bundled with music management software from sister company Virgin Digital. The software also can be used to purchase downloads and subscription packages from Virgin Digital's newly launched music service. Also preloaded on the devices will be promotional music from V2 Records artists Katy Rose and Charlie Mars.

In conjunction with the announcement of the player, Virgin Electronics is also bringing to market a line of portable speakers known as the Virgin Boomtube.

The products -- due in stores later this year -- will be available in Virgin Megastores, and consumer electronics retailers. They can also be purchased online through virginelectronics.com.