By Richard Menta- 10/13/00
First came the Sensory Science Rave MP2300, then the Iomega HipZip. Now I-Jam, one of the original six MP3 portable manufacturers, announce they will release a third digital music player using Iomega's Clik! media format. Dubbed the Win-Jam II, the unit is expected to ship by Christmas.
Recently renamed the PocketZip, these memory disks offer a relatively cheap memory format when compared with the flash memory cards used by most MP3 players today. 32MB flash memory cards run about $70 - $100 each while 40MB Clik/PocketZip disks run $10.
This price difference is so significant, some industry analysts feel it will cause a shift away from the flash cards. Flash media is already experiencing a challenge from portables like Creative's Nomad Jukebox that use a laptop drive to give their player a 6GB capacity.
``We are excited that I-Jam has chosen Iomega's PocketZip storage for its new digital audio players,'' said Bruce Albertson, president and CEO, Iomega Corporation. ``PocketZip technology offers I-Jam customers the music they want at the price they want to pay. We expect PocketZip-based digital audio players to have huge appeal with consumers.
The main advantage of flash memory cards is that they are smaller, lighter, and don't require a drive mechanism to play them. This allows for the petite units like the original I-Jam player that is 1/4th the size and weight of the Win-Jam II. These cards also use less power and can be run on regular AA and AAA batteries. Clik/PocketZip disk portables require more expensive lithium batteries to reach long enough playing times.
But as Mr. Albertson pointed out affordable memory is what users want. They are growing tired of portables that effectively max out at 64MB because the cost of additional memory can equal the price of the original unit in some cases. Our positive experience with the Rave MP2300 clearly showed the strength of Iomega's format and it's drawing more companies like I-Jam to adopt it. Indeed, several companies have announced upcoming players using the Clik/PocketZip format including; Addonics Technologies Corporation, Varo Vision Co., OptoMedia Corporation, LG International Corp., Rexon Technologies, RFC and Frontier Labs.
I-Jams did not release a lot of details of the features in the new unit. Most notable is that the new Win-Jam II actually doesn't play MP3 files, instead playing digital music using Microsoft's Windows Media digital music format (WMA). Along with the original Win-Jam, a flash memory portable, these players are the only ones that use the WMA format exclusively.
Copyright 2000 MP3 Newswire. All rights reserved.
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