Digital Audio Player Technology Market is H-O-T!!!
Iomega's HipZip™, Compaq's iPAQ and Creative's NOMAD Jukebox
Surveys by Cahners In-Stat Group show that millions of consumers are already hooked on portable digital music players! Their research indicated that despite the uncertainty surrounding the legality of some digital music download programs and business models, annual sales will soar from a total of $126 million in 1999 to $1.25 billion by the end of 2002.
What is driving this rapidly expanding market? YOU - literally millions of people are demanding the technology that will allow them to take advantage of the opportunities that online digital media offer! In earlier articles, the expansion in media content now being made available has been examined. New methods of distribution are no longer "just around the corner", they are HERE! What's been missing, to some degree, are alternative and affordable methods for playing that content. Sure, players were available, but the discs were expensive and beyond the reach of many consumers.
In a press release on September 21st, Iomega Corporation announced the retail launch of the HipZip™ digital audio player, a sleek new device that combines affordable music storage with support for licensed digital downloads of copyrighted music and spoken word content. The HipZip™ digital audio player, available nationwide September 24, plays music stored on Iomega's PocketZip™ 40MB disks and radically lowers the cost of creating portable personal music collections. Their player lists for $299 retail. Microsoft Windows Media™ Player 7 has been selected to be the default Windows-based PC jukebox to be included in every HipZip™ box. When contacted on this matter, Chris Romoser. Director, Corporate Communications and Public Relations for Iomega, indicated that there are already plans for integrating their technology as a "snap-in" player for automobiles. Imagine the possibilities!
In other developments, Compaq and Microsoft announced in a September 20th press release that they are launching a customized Windows Media Player 7 especially for Compaq Presario customers. Updated software drivers for Compaq's iPAQ PA-1 digital audio player will allow users to transfer their personal music collections from Presarios, or other PC supporting USB, to the state-of-the-art iPAQ PA-1 with a single click. This updated driver was made available as of September 29th, at http://windowsmedia.com/MediaGuide/cooldevices/cooldevices.asp In addition to these products, the iPAQ Pocket PC 3650 has featured the Windows Media Player since its launch in May 2000.
Another digital alternative comes from Creative Technology, Ltd. Their NOMAD Jukebox portable digital audio solution began shipping in the U.S. towards the end of September. Slightly more expensive at $499.99 retail, it features 6GB of storage in a sleek, portable design that holds over 100 hours of high-quality digital music, or the equivalent of about 150 CDs. The NOMAD Jukebox supports both PC and Macintosh operating systems. It supports downloadable music formats such as MP3, WMA, WAV files and other new formats, and provides a programmable, highly flexible portable audio solution. . "We plan on continuing to empower our customers with new accessories, new features and support for new audio formats that will enable a personal digital entertainment experience," said Hock Leow, Creative's chief technology officer.
With this level of technology available, online digital content distribution has nowhere to go but UP! Both consumers and artists will benefit, in ways previously unimaginable. Stay tuned for more exciting information!
Cahners In-Stat Group - www.instat.com
Compaq "At Home" - www.compaq.com/athome/
Creative Technology, Ltd. - www.nomadworld.com
Iomega Corporation - www.iomega.com
Microsoft - www.microsoft.com
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