Essay Preview: Mp3 Players
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A digital audio player (DAP), often known as an mp3 player, is a device that stores, organizes and plays digital music files. They are more often known as MP3 players (because of the MP3 formats ubiquity), but DAPs often play more file formats than mp3 players [wikipedia.org].
There are two main types of MP3 players. Flash-based MP3 Players are solid state devices that hold digital audio files on internal or external media, such as memory cards. Due to technological restrictions, these are comparatively low-storage devices, commercially ranging from 128MB to 8GB (8000MB), such as the 2nd generation iPod nano and the iriver clix, which can often be enhanced with additional memory. As they are solid state and do not have movable parts, they are very durable. In effect, they do not undergo limitations that owners of Hard Drive-based players face, such as fears of dropping their player. Such players are commonly integrated into USB pen-drives [mp3licensing.com].
Hard Drive-based MP3 Players or Digital Jukeboxes are devices that read digital audio files from a hard drive. These players have elevated capacities, varying from 1GB to 160GB, depending on the hard drive technology, price and brand. At usual encoding rates, this means that thousands of tracks — possibly an entire music collection — can be stored in a single MP3 player. Because of the storage capability, devices that also display video and pictures are often hard-drive based. The Apple iPod, Creative Zen and Microsoft Zune are examples of popular digital jukeboxes.
The predecessors to MP3 players were portable CD players and MiniDisc players (neither being usually considered a “digital audio player”). Non-mechanical MP3 players were introduced following the popularity of the precursors [mp3licensing.com].
The earliest MP3 player in the world was invented by South Korean SaeHan Information Systems in 1997 (acquired by iRiver in 2004). The MPMan F10 was later launched in the American market through Eiger Labs [webmonkey.com; anythingbutipod.com].
The first non-mechanical unit on the American market was the Eiger Labs MPMan F10, a 32MB portable that appeared in the summer of 1997. It was a very basic unit and wasnt user expandable, although owners could upgrade the memory to 64MB by sending the player back to Eiger Labs with a check for $69 + $7.95 shipping.
The succeeding DAP (but broadly considered the first mass market player) was the Rio PMP300 from Diamond Multimedia, introduced in September 1998. The Rio was a large success during the Christmas 1998 season as sales notably exceeded expectations, spurring interest and investment in digital music. The Recording Industry Association of America soon filed a lawsuit alleging that the device abetted illegal copying of music, but Diamond won a legal victory with the help of Sony Corporation against Universal City Studios and digital audio players were ruled legal devices. [anythingbutipod.com; wikipedia.org]
Other early DAPs included Sensory Sciences Rave MP2300, the I-Jam IJ-100, and the Creative Labs Nomad. These portables were compact and light, but only held enough space to hold around 7 to 20 songs at standard 128 kbit/s compression rates. They also used slower parallel port connections to transfer files from ones computer to the player, compulsory as most PCs then used the Windows 95 and NT operating systems, which did not support the then newer USB (Universal Serial Bus) connections sound enough to be considered for use. When in the year 2000 USB became more widespread, most players adopted the USB standard, with a small number of isolated models supporting the FireWire standard.
By the end of 1999, Compaq made a considerable development in DAPs space limitations by employing a laptop hard drive for song storage instead of low-capacity flash memory. The Personal Jukebox (PJB-100), manufactured under license by HanGo Electronics, had 4.8GB of storage memory, which contained about 1200 songs (or 100 CDs, hence the name PJB-100), and was the start of what would soon be called the jukebox segment of digital audio players. This segment in due course became the dominant type of DAP. [wikipedia.org]
Also, at the end of 1999, the foremost in-dash digital audio player appeared. The Empeg Car (renamed the Rio Car after it was acquired by SonicBLUE and added to its Rio line of MP3 products) presented players in several capacities varying from 5GB to 28GB. The device