When devices half the size of a deck of cards arrive on the market with the ability to play CD-quality music which can be sourced free from the Internet in almost unlimited quantity, you have to wonder about the future of CDs as a music medium.
Computer components and peripherals manufacturer Creative Technologies is leading the charge towards mass adoption by consumers of the MP3 digital audio compression standard in a portable music playback device.
Widely used on the Internet and PCs, MP3 has so far had restricted mainstream appeal because of its confines. The increasing popularity of computers and almost unlimited access to free music over the Internet is making new devices such as Creative's Nomad portable MP3 player much more viable.
"Today's music listeners are after a good quality sound on a portable, skip-free device that they can take anywhere, anytime," Jason Tan C.G., Creative Technologies product marketing manager said.
"The Nomad offers all that as well as being a voice recording device, an FM radio receiver, and incorporates the ability to easily customise music through Creative's Environmental Audio (EA) standard.
"What the Nomad does is to move MP3 digital audio away from being restricted to just the com-puter and allow people to play it anywhere, anytime," Tan said.
Creative Pacific said it will start shipping two versions of the Nomad this month. One boasts 32MB of onboard flash memory and another, which offers 64MB by including an additional 32MB flash mem-ory card. The recommended retail prices come in at $429 and $529 respectively.
Smaller and lighter than a deck of cards, a 64MB capacity will allow the Nomad to store two hours of CD quality music or five hours of voice. It comes with a docking station, which serves as the power source for the rechargeable batteries which are claimed to last for as long as eight hours of continuous play.
The Nomad comes with all the tools needed to locate, manage, and edit MP3 files (assuming you already have an Internet connection), while in the future Creative plans to make available accessories such as portable speakers and in-car connections.
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