By Richard Menta 4/19/03
The moment the iPod appeared just in time for Christmas 2001 it was a hit. This was no surprise to us as Apple successfully achieved what had not before been acomplished with an MP3 portable. That was to reach a balance between the the memory poor, but light and small, flash memory players and the memory rich but cumbersome jukebox portables. Apple did it by utilizing Toshiba's then new 1.8" drives and with that balance took 15% of the digital portable market.
Competitors immediately ran to design and distribute their versions and 2003 is where they are making their debut.
The Bantam BA1000
Bantam has announced that in a few weeks they will start shipping their version, The Bantam BA1000.
The BA1000 has dimensions that are almost identical to the iPod's. The unit comes in at a svelt 194 grams vs. the iPod's 185 grams. Dimensions of the unit are 106mm x 66mm x 31mm (4.0" x 2.6" x 1.2") vs. the iPod's 102 x 62 x 20 mm (4.0" x 2.4" x 0.78"). In both cases the iPod is still smaller, but marginally so.
The Bantam, on the other hand, offers a few features that are showing up in the newest MP3 portables, but are unavailable in the older iPod. This includes an FM radio with the capability to record direct from broadcast .
The most curious thing about the BA1000 is that rather than go for the 20GB capacity range as most iPod competitors try to max out their units, they have chosen to stay smaller, offering 2GB and 5GB models. This decision is probably a concious effort to keep prices down with the realization that most iPod buyers probably never come close to filling up their players with tunes.
Despite market prices dropping on digital portables, the iPod's have remained pricey. The 5GB ipod sells for a stiff $300 while the 20GB runs $500. To put this in perspective, HP just announced that their starter PCs without monitor will sell for $319. Bantam has not yet announced pricing on the units, but figure they will run less than the 5GB iPod.
The BA 1000 tranfers files via USB 2.0, which appears to be winning the race against Firewire among the latest crop of MP3 players.
Below are the specifications for the BA 1000:
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