By Robert Menta - 7/06/01
Olympus seems to be pushing the unit more as a digital voice recorder than as a 64MB MP3 player, but the DM-1 is a player nonetheless. This is probably a ploy to tap into a particular marketing niche of on-the-go business people more than anything else.
Several manufacturers, including all of Sensory Science's digital music portables, have enabled their products with voice-recording capabilities for a couple of years now so it's nothing new. Still, in an MP3 player market that is getting crowded manufacturers need to target their audience more finely than before to maximize sales. Olympus, a leader in the tape voice recorder market, looks to stock their product in the Staples and Office Maxx's of this country.
The Olympus DM-1 is a relatively basic player without any internal memory. Storeing music files on a 64MB Smart Media card included with the unit the player can read up to 128MB cards. File transfers are handled via a USB connection, standard now for almost all digital music players.
The DM-1 plays both MP3 and WMA files, the latter another example of the adoption by the industry of Microsoft's digital format as the number two format. The Olympus DM-1 offers two voice recording modes, SP for high quality voice recordings and LP for longer recordings. Olympus claims the unit can handle 22 hours of dictation on LP mode. The company also touts the unit's built-in WOW sound system, a 3-D audio technology.
On July 2nd Olympus also announce a voice-only digital music player, the DW-90. Bundled with a USB connection and IBM's ViaVoice technology, this unit is meant for straight dictation from the road to the user's word processor making it a tool that under ideal conditions can save the executive without a secretary quite a bit of typing.
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