By Richard Menta- 12/23/99
What? 64MB of memory is not enough for your MP3 player? Good news, Delkin is shipping new large capacity flash cards that will increase your player's song capacity several fold. Warning: it won't be cheap.
The new flash cards contain 224MB of memory which will hold about 70 MP3 singles at the normal quality setting (several hours of music can be stored when lower quality MP3 compression rates are employed, but the majority of users choose to convert or download songs at the standard 128 kbit setting).
To date, owners of MP3 portables have had to do with the limitations of the 32MB and 64MB units serving the market today. That amounts to a range of 15 to 18 songs which requires frequent trips to the PC to refresh tunes. While that may be frustrating to those who invested in the first generation product, the good news is almost all the units are upgradeable as manufacturers had the foresight to add expandable memory slots. Without the slots, today's MP3 portables would be vulnerable to a very quick obsolecence.
Not every portable will be able to add the higher capacity flash cards yet. The new memory is only available in the CompactFlash™ Type II format used by the RCA Lyra and the upcoming Creative Nomad II.
The Diamond Rio line uses a smaller Smart Media Card, the most popular card used in today's MP3 portables, and players like the iJam use an even smaller Multimedia Flash (MMC) card. A 300+ MB Smart Media Card is expected to ship by the second quarter of 2000 and higher capacity MMC cards should follow shortly, but since MMC cards are one fourth the size of CompactFlash cards, they may perpetually lag their larger bretheren in memory capability.
Still, we expect most people will hold off on purchasing a 224MB card for their player. That's because the memory sells today for $900, several times more than the portables using them. Like all new technology, prices will eventually come down, so with a little patience we should see higher end portables shipping with these cards within a year or two.
Of course, if you want to turn your MP3 player into a true rich man's toy, why wait?
Copyright 1999 MP3 Newswire. All rights reserved.