by Richard Menta, 12/04/03
Another computer manufacturer has decided to follow in Apple's footsteps and jump into the music download arena. Hewlett-Packard announced today that it will sell digital music online and mate that service with a new digital music portable.
Recently, Dell answered Apple's call and opened the Dell Digital Music store which they paired with a new portable called the Dell Digital Jukebox. Other manufacturers are expected to follow.
The Rio Karma is listed on Amazon.
The success of iTunes has been a boon to Apple, both in terms of PR as well as direct sales of Apple's iPod portable. The original iPod set new standards for MP3 portables, both in terms of ease of use as well as a significant improvement in the size-to-capacity ratio of a digital music player. It was a success before iTunes was launched. With the advent of the iTunes service, which seemlessly integrated with an updated version of the iPod, iPod sales soared, taking between one third to half of all digital portable sales.
To boost sagging PC sales, Apple's competitors in PC manufacturing look to expand into small electronics and online services. HP has released an MP3 portable in the past.
Song download prices on the HP service will be akin to iTunes, about $0.99 a song. HP has not announced the price of the player, it will probably be in the $200 range similar to Dell's player who priced their unit $100 under the entry level iPod.
The 128MB Philips PSA MP3 player for the gym is available on Amazon
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