By Robert Menta- 10/29/01
Talk about an interesting product, a portable MP3/CD player that is simultaneously a CD burner. Imation, maker of data storage devices, has entered the MP3 portable market with its unique mini (80mm) CD portable device. Called the RipGO mini CD-R burner and digital audio player, the unit works on both Macintosh and Windows (except 95 and NT), machines.
The unit targets file traders who have yet to buy a burner or who don't have space on their systems left to add an internal one. By leveraging the mini CD format, Imation was able to keep the player's size down for those who want to use it as their main portable player. The cost is smaller disk capacity - 185 MB versus the 600+ MB a standard CD can hold - but that still holds plenty of tunes when you're on the go.
"Imation continues to respond to customer demands for digital storage solutions that offer advanced productivity, compatibility and portability," Said Imation VP Steve Carter. Indeed, the Oakdale MN company is another business on the periphery of the digital music sphere that has seen the potential of the burgeoning digital music market to supplement and enhance their present product line. Already the disparate likes of Apple, Compaq (both computer manufacturers), Iomega (storage manufacturer), and Intel (chip manufacturer) have jumped into the fray. Intel and its fine Pocket Concert player recently dropped out of the MP3 race, a casualty forced by the closure of its entire consumer products division.
Retailing for $399, the diminuative player is not much wider than the mini-CDs it uses. That size advantage will make it very desirable to the more active digital music lovers who want more than the 64MB storage available on most flash memory players, but are unsatisfied with standard size MP3/CD players because of their greater size and weight. The unit is not limited to digital music files, allowing it to simultaneously serve as a backup unit for your PC.
The RipGO connects to the computer via the USB port and comes with all the necessary software to rip music files and burn them onto blank discs in the unit. The RipGO rips and plays MP3, WMA, as well standard CD formats. The CD-r drive is powered by rechargeable lithium battery, enough for 6 hours of music.
The RipGo began shipping last Friday, just in time for the holidays. It's a bit pricey, though, and as the street price of most digital music products drop significantly over several months, it may be worth a short post-season wait before buying. We offered that same piece of advice to those wishing to purchase an Apple iPod.
MP3 Newswire has contacted the manufacturer and hopes to review the unit soon.
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