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What is MP3

MP3 stands for MPEG Audio Layer III and it is a standard for audio compression that makes any
music file smaller with little or no loss of sound quality. MP3 is part of MPEG, an acronym for
Motion Pictures Expert Group, a family of standards for displaying video and audio using lossy
compression. Standards set by the Industry Standards Organization or ISO, beginning in 1992
with the MPEG-1 standard. MPEG-1 is a video compression standard with low bandwidth. The
high bandwidth audio and video compression standard of MPEG-2 followed and was good
enough to use with DVD technology. MPEG Layer III or MP3 involves only audio compression.

Timeline - History of MP3

• 1987 - The Fraunhofer Institut in Germany began research code-named EUREKA project
EU147, Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB).
• January 1988 - Moving Picture Experts Group or MPEG was established as a
subcommittee of the International Standards Organization/International Electrotechnical
Commission or ISO/IEC.
• April 1989 - Fraunhofer received a German patent for MP3.
• 1992 - Fraunhofer's and Dieter Seitzer’s audio coding algorithm was integrated into
• 1993 - MPEG-1 standard published.
• 1994 - MPEG-2 developed and published a year later.
• November 26, 1996 - United States patent issued for MP3.
• September 1998 - Fraunhofer started to enforce their patent rights. All developers of MP3
encoders or rippers and decoders/players now have to pay a licensing fee to Fraunhofer.
• February 1999 - A record company called SubPop is the first to distribute music tracks in
the MP3 format.
• 1999 - Portable MP3 players appear.

What Can MP3 Do

Fraunhofer Gesellschaft has this to say about MP3:"Without Data reduction, digital audio signals
typically consist of 16 bit samples recorded at a sampling rate more than twice the actual audio
bandwidth (e.g. 44.1 kHz for Compact Discs). So you end up with more than 1.400 Mbit to
represent just one second of stereo music in CD quality. By using MPEG audio coding, you may
shrink down the original sound data from a CD by a factor of 12, without losing sound quality."

MP3 Players

In the early 1990s, Frauenhofer developed the first, however, unsuccessful MP3 player. In 1997,
developer Tomislav Uzelac of Advanced Multimedia Products invented the AMP MP3 Playback
Engine, the first successful MP3 player. Two university students, Justin Frankel and Dmitry
Boldyrev ported AMP to Windows and created Winamp. In 1998, Winamp became a free MP3
music player boosting the success of MP3. No licensing fees are required to use an MP3 player.
10 Years of MP3 Players

Eiger Labs MPMan F10

This was the first MP3 player ever made. Announced at CeBIT in March as a prototype only, the
device caught so much attention it was set into production and launched in May.

The device had 32MB of internal memory, which could be upgraded to 64MB by sending it in to
the manufacturer and paying an additional $69. Launch price of the F10 was $250.

Diamond Rio PMP300

Even though the F10 sold very well, this was the player that really showed that MP3 players
were here to stay. The PMP300 was launched a few months after the F10, and it also had 32MB
of memory.

This player's was released in the midst of the first Napster and other illegal P2P which lead the
record industry to sue Diamond. They claimed the player encouraged people to illegally copy
music, but lost the case. Because of this lawsuit and the PR that resulted form it, the RIO is by
many thought to have been the first MP3 player.

Sensory Science RaveMP 2100

The RaveMP 2100 was launched in the summer of 1999. With 64MB, it had double the capacity
that the other players from the year before had. On top of that a memory card slot allowed an
additional 32MB to be used, making the total capacity 96MB.

The RaveMP 2100 wasn't only the biggest capacity player available, it also introduced a new
feature we know from MP3 players today - voice recording. On top of that it had a feature to
store and view phone numbers, and it shipped with Sennheiser headphones. Battery life was 10
hours on a single AA battery. Transferring songs was done via the parallel port, or via USB for
those who had that kind of advanced technology on their machines.

Creative Labs Nomad

Creative's first player was launched in June of 1999. It had 32MB of memory, FM radio, voice
recording, and a price tag of $429. The Nomad was the first player on the market that had
docking capabilities, allowing users to slip the player into the dock to charge and transfer files.

The interesting thing about the Nomad is that it was infact not made by Creative. It was a
rebranded Samsung YP-D40, and was also available under Samsung's brand name Yepp.
HanGo PJB-100

Developed by Compaq and released by HanGo, the PJB-100 was the first ever MP3 player to use
a hard drive for storage instead of flash memory. This meant that instead of the normal 32/64MB
capacity of that time, the player had a 4.86GB laptop hard drive.

A player capable of holding 100 CD's was the holy grail 9 years ago, and that showed on the
price tag- $799.


I2Go eGo

In 2000, the problem people were faced it was the choice between flash based players and the
PJB-100. Flash based meant a very portable player, but limited capacity. The PJB-100 could
hold the entire CD collection, but was the size of a brick. The eGo fixed this dilemma as it was
the first MP3 player to use IBM MicroDrives.

Featuring two microdrive slots, the eGo had a max capacity of 2GB. This was however
somewhat theoretical, as a 1GB microdrive cost $1000 - meaning the 2GB eGo would cost over
$2000. The player also had a built in speaker and text-to-speech capabilities, but that didn't help
it sell any better. The company made only the one player, and shut down for good in 2002.

Sony Vaio MC-P10 Music Clip

Sony's first entrance into the digital music business ended in a gigantic failure with the MC-P10
Music Clip. The reason for this was that Sony pulled it's usual proprietary format card and made
the player with ATRAC3 playback only.

Since it came with MP3 to ATRAC3 conversion software, Sony put an MP3 sticker on the box,.
This resulted in many returns and upset customers since it didnt really play MP3. After several
more attempts at ATRAC only players, Sony gave up and added MP3 support. As we now know,
it would take another 7 years for Sony to drop ATRAC altogether.

Creative Nomad Jukebox

This $500 player was a big hit for Creative. It had a 6GB hard drive, and despite the size it sold
great numbers. The Nomad Jukebox was one of the best MP3 players ever made both sound
quality wise and feature wise, with more features than you find on many MP3 players even

Beside the headphone jack, it had two line-out jacks and a line-in jack. It had a parametric
equalizer, spatialization settings and environmental settings which allowed you to adjust output
according to what kind of room you were in. It even came with real headphones and not the
standard plugs normally included with players.


Intel Pocket Concert

The Pocket Concert was the first mass produced 128MB player ever made, a capacity that many
will remember being on their first player.
It became a great success, but was discontinued shortly after when Intel eliminated it's entire
home electronics division.

Bang & Olufsen BeoSound2

Expensive players wasn't something new, but normally they had a reason for the high price.

B&O's Beosound2 was an average player in every way, except for the name and exclusiveness of
a B&O player. For $695 you got a player with 128MB SD card, a dock and earphones, clearly
style over substance.

Apple iPod

The first iPod was released in late October 2001, and was the first player to utilize Toshiba's 1.8"
hard drives. Despite being compatible only with Mac and only supporting Firewire, it sold well
due to the size/storage solution and the easy interface. The first version was 5GB, but a 10GB
version was released later.

Archos Jukebox Multimedia

The Archos Jukebox Multimedia was the first ever PMP (Personal Media Player), being able to
display both images and video.

It's feature set included recording from camera, line-in recording, JPEG viewing and DivX
MPEG4 playback with Ice Age included out of the box. Selling for about $400, it was available
in both 10 and 20GB capacities.

Creative MuVo

The design Creative introduced with the first MuVo would stay by the company for years to
come. Many will remember this player or one of it's brothers as it's one of the best selling mp3
player series every made.

The first MuVo didn't have a screen, and was only available in 64 and 128MB capacities.
Running 12 hours off a single AAA battery and with a integrated USB plug, it was a simple and
easy to use player that certainly didn't make a big bulk in your pocket.

Apple iPod 2. Gen

The second generation iPod introduced a few changes to it's predecessor, but was otherwise
similar in looks.

The Firewire port was still there as only means of transfer, but the player at least came bundled
with Windows software - although it was Musicmatch and not iTunes. The touch wheel was
introduced to replace the mechanical one, and capacities were doubled to 10 and 20GB.

Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen

The Nomad Jukebox Zen was the first Creative player to bear the Zen branding, a name used on
most creative players today. The player was the biggest competition to the iPod at the time as
Creative and Apple started to make their entrance in major consumer electronic stores.

With 20GB of hard drive space, 12 hours of battery and Firewire it was really a direct competitor
to the iPod, but unfortunately didn't do as well as it competitor.


By this point in time, the early pioneers of mp3 players were either gone or overrun by the bigger
companies like Creative and Apple. The breakthroughs had been made and mp3 players had
become part of every day life.

Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen NX/Xtra

The Zen NX was the successor of the old Zen, with removable battery and slightly smaller
physical size. The Zen Xtra - released at the same time as the Zen NX - provided 60GB of
storage and a larger screen than it's brother. Unfortunately the Xtra was haunted by a series of
firmware and hardware issues. Some firmware verisons broke the equalizer, while others made a
mess of track listings for large collections. Hardware failures included headphone jack issues and
hard drive problems.

Sony NW-MS70D

As with Sony's first attempts at the digital music player market, the MS70D wasn't a big hit. It
still only supported WAV and ATRAC and with the new third gen iPod being released at the
same time it didn't have much success.

The player had an impressive battery life with 44 hours and it was also one of the smallest
players available. 256MB built in flash and 128MB extra via a Memory Stick Duo expansion slot
wasn't much when it cost the same as a 15GB iPod.

Creative MuVo NX

The MuVo NX took the old MuVo design and put in a screen, play modes, equalizer and voice
recorder. It sold in 128 and 256MB capacities and was also available in packages with multiple
battery shells. The MuVo NX was the last real update to this player series from Creative and
models released in later years had the same basic menu and looks. Higher capacities and FM
radio was added on the MuVo TX in 2004, and a more squared design was introduced with the
V200 in 2005. The N200 was essentially the same player as the V200 but with a rechargeable

The old design showed as the years went by and Creative finally discontinued the series in 2007
in favor of the Zen Stone series. None of the MuVo players had been much of an upgrade to the
2003 NX, but it still sold millions of units during the series' run.
Cowon iAudio 4

Cowon had been around for a few years, but the iAudio 4 was the first player like we know
Cowon today.

The player had 15 hours of playback on an AAA battery, BBE sound enhancements, FM radio
and LED backlight that could be set to one of 124 colors. It was a drop in the ocean among mp3
players due to Cowon America's lack of marketing and distribution powers, but it still had a
decent amount of followers.

iriver H100 series

iriver's old players are known to be some of the best mp3 players ever made, even by today's
measures. The iHP-1XX series (later renamed H1XX due to a argument with Hewlett Packard)
was the first series of such players from iriver.

The H1XX (XX symbolizing capacity) were available in 10, 15, 20 and 40GB, and the player
supported Rockbox. The H1XX was discontinued in 2004 in favor of the legendary H300 series.

Apple iPod 3. gen

Apple continued releasing new models of iPods, and with the third generation the buttons had
been moved. iTunes was available for Windows, so Musicmatch was dropped. The standard iPod
dock connector was introduced, and the player got an overall slimmer look.

Capacities were raised to a maximum of 40GB, and USB suppport was added - but for syncing
only. Battery life was lower than the previous models, with only 8 hours.

Rio Karma

The Rio Karma is one of the most reputable players in history with features that far outdid
anything on the market at the time.

The Karma had a 20GB hard drive and supported a lot of formats, including Ogg Vorbis and
FLAC. The player's ability to play back files gaplessly made it an audiophile dream, and a dock
with ethernet connection also helped make it popular.


Creative Zen Touch and ZEN Micro

The Zen Touch separated itself from it's predecessors mostly with the new design and more
advanced user interface.

It had a touchpad for scrolling, 24 hours of battery life and 20GB hard drive. It sold well, but like
it's predecessors it had some issues with firmware and lockups.

Creative also released a little brother to the Touch, the ZEN Micro - the first player to use all
capitalized ZEN branding. With 4-6GB of microdrive capacity, it was a more compact and more
portable option for those who didn't require the full 20GB of the Touch. The Micro got an
upgrade in 2005 in form of the MicroPhoto, which had 8GB and a color screen. The Micro series
is still in use and it's also popular amongs DIY'ers because the microdrive can be swapped with a
32GB compact flash card.
Creative Zen Media Center

The Zen Media Center was the world's first MTP-only player, and it also ran Windows Mobile
and was based on Windows Media Center.

It had a large, bright 3.8" screen, 20 or 40GB of storage, and internal speakers. It was one of the
first full blown PMP's ever made and has later been replaced by the Zen Vision and Zen Vision

iriver H300 series

If there ever was a cult mp3 player in the audiophile community, this would be it. Even today -
3.5 years after its release - it's used by people everywhere and sell for a decent price on sites such
as eBay.

The H320 and H340 players natively support OGG along with MP3 and WMA, and are are also
capable of playing back video - though this feature is very limited. Rockbox expanded the
H300's features to include 15 audio codecs - among them FLAC - and that combined with the
excellent audio quality has made this player the audiophile legend that it is.

Archos AV300
Archos has always been special in that they provide video recording options for most of their
PMPs. That was also true with the AV300, and a camera module made video recording possible.

The AV series continued in later years with the AV400, AV500 and AV700, but the series never
did as well as Archos' later PMP series, called Generation 4 and 5.

iAudio M3 and U2

Cowon was busy in 2004, and released several players. The M3 was a hard drive based player
that had no screen and very few buttons on the device itself, and instead relied on a wired remote
control for navigation. This made the device very slim, but not everyone liked the concept. It was
available in 20 and 40GB along with a 20GB L version with longer battery life - up to 35 hours.

The U2 was a flash based player, much like the other stick shaped players that was popular at the
time. The U2 had features that far outdid it's competition, with line in, radio with recording,
BBE, alarm clock and bookmark functions. It was first released in low capacities, but was later
released in capacities up to 2GB.

Cowon also released two other models which were upgrades to older models. The G3 was
basically a U2 using an AA battery instead of an internal rechargeable one, which gave it a
battery life of up to 50 hours. The iAudio 5 was released as an upgrade to the iAudio 4, but aside
from some fancy background light settings it wasn't very different.

Apple iPod 4. gen and iPod mini

With the iPod mini, Apple introduced a smaller, lower capacity player with a click wheel for
controls. It was first released with 4GB, and replaced by a new model in 2005 that was also
available in 6GB.
The fourth generation iPod of the main iPod line adopted the click wheel of the mini, and a
special edition color screen model was also released - later baked into the main line as iPod
Photo. Though it's competitors had used color screens for years, the Photo was the first iPod to
include colors, although there still was no video playback.


Creative ZEN Sleek

Creative released a lot of players in 2005 and a lot of those were updates like the MicroPhoto.
The Sleek had it's share of the sales, but compared to the ZVM released later in 2005 it was
nothing but a footnote in history.

The Sleek was rather unextraordinary, with a 20GB hard drive, FM radio, and voice recording. It
was updated later on with a Sleek Photo version, which had a OLED screen.

Creative Zen Sleek Review

Creative ZEN Vision

The ZEN Vision was Creative's new flagship PMP model in 2005, taking over for the Windows
Media Center based Zen.

It had a 30GB harddrive and supported a variety of video formats. The 3.7" screen had a
resolution of 640x480, which is equal to a CRT TV.

Creative ZEN Vision M

The ZEN Vision M wad a hybrid between the Sleek and the Vision, and is perhaps Creative's
most successfully player ever.

The Vision M had a 30GB hard drive at launch, and a 60GB version was later released. It had a
2.5" 320x240 screen, and the video codec support outdid anything on the market, including the
fifth generation iPod. The Vision M allowed people to play back DivX files without conversion,
a feature that even today is very rare on players that size. The Vision M sold extremely well, and
is still in use by a lot of people today, although the player is officially discontinued.

Zen Vision:M Review

Apple iPod 5. Gen and iPod Nano

The iPods continued to lag behind in technical specifications, and the 2005 models were no

The iPod Video was a much thinner player than the previous models, with 30, 60 and 80GB
capacities. The major new feature was video, but the lacking video support meant only some
MP4 videos and h264 could be played. Despite this drawback compared to the ZEN Vision M, it
sold well due to it's normal fan base and it's sleek design.

The iPod Nano was a very sleek flash based player that was to take over for the microdrive based
iPod Mini. The first generation suffered from a lot of criticism due to lack of support for Apple's
own accessories. It was available in 1, 2 and 4GB, and was upgraded in 2006. The second
generation had twice the capacities and also fixed some of the accessory issues the first
generation had. Neither the first or the second generation Nano supported video, but had a small
color screen for navigation.

Cowon X5 and A2
The Cowon X5 can best be described as a successor to the iriver H300, even if the two are from
different companies.

It had the best codec support on any device at the time and even though it did support video, it
was crude and mostly a novelty. The X5 was the only major hard drive player at the time that
supported UMS (Universal Mass Storage) which meant it didn't require any software or special
OS to transfer files. It also relied purely on folder browsing, a feature loved by some and hated
by others. The X5 was Rockboxed later on, and a 60GB version was also released.

Cowon also updated the U2 in 2005, with the release of the U3 in October. It was bigger and
featured a video capable color screen.

Cowon iAudio X5 Review

The Cowon A2 was Cowon's first PMP, and they entered the market in style. The player
supported most audio and video codecs, and the 4" device was capable of both TV recording and
TV output. The price held it down somewhat, but it was also the most advanced PMP available.
Sony NW-HD5

The Sony NW-HD5 is another player which slides into history as an audiophile legend, due to
it's excellent sound quality.

The NW-HD5 was luckily not cursed with ATRAC only like many of Sony's previous players,
but SonicStage was still present. It had a user removable battery which could run for up to 40
hours, and had a 20GB harddrive. A special edition model was available with 30GB. It had a
short life, and was pulled from the market before it's time. Some claim it's because it sold badly
due to a defect with the buttons, making them crack under use.

Sony HD5 Review


Creative ZEN Vision W

While 2005 was a very busy year, 2006 didn't bring much new. Creative and Apple both had
their players out the year before, and the product life was enough to bring them straight through
2006 with only a few capacity upgrades on the way. The Vision W was the biggest Creative
event in 2006, and even it was an upgrade - to the the ZEN Vision.

The ZEN Vision W has a lower resolution than it's predecessor, but made up for it with a wide
screen and better viewing angle. Otherwise it is very similar to the Vision, and is available in 30
and 60GB capacities.

Archos Generation 4

Archos had been doing a lot of experimenting the previous years, and that resulted in the release
of the Archos Generation 4 in 2006-2007. The series included a few smaller players known as
104 and 204, as well as the popular 404/504/604/704 PMP models.
The 404 was the smallest of the PMP's, meant as a budget version of the 604. With a 3.5"
320x240 screen, it lacked some of the qualities of it's bigger brothers, but was well supported in
the codec department. A camcorder version was also available, adding a 1.3 megapixel camera to
the player. The bigger models didn't have this variation, but had helmet cams available as

The 504 was bigger than the 604, despite the names. It was practically identical to the 604, but
was physically thicker and came in bigger capacities. 40, 80 and 160GB was available and many
users were able to change the 2.5" hard drive with a bigger one.

The 604 was the flagship of the three PMP models. It had a 4.3" 480x272 screen, 30GB hard
drive, and played back pretty much any video format - though some required costly plugins.
Video recording was available through accessories. There was also a 604 WiFi version, which
had a touch screen and WiFi connection. The web browser had to be bought seperately, and was
provided by Opera.

The 704 WiFi was the biggest of the generation 4 players, with a massive 7 inch touch screen
placing it closer to portable DVD players than PMPs. The screen had a 800x480 resolution, 2.5
times what the 604 had. A special edition was released in France, where a TV tuner replaced the

Microsoft Zune
After several years on the sideline, Microsoft decided they wanted a piece of the cake in 2006.
The Zune was a competitor to the iPod, but that process was no small task to take on.

The Zune featured a 3" 240x320 screen and WiFi, which could be used to share songs, with
certain limits. The first generation Zune later to be know as the Zune 30 was reworked from the
Toshiba S series in order to get something to the market quickly.

Zune Gen 1 Review

Sony NW-A1000 and NW-A3000

Sony's final step before seeing the light was the 2006 players; NW-A1000, NW-A1200 and NW-
A3000. With 6, 8 and 20GB respectively. The players provided nothing special beside the
design, and they were troubled with some annoying flaws. First of all, the players were
extremely slow, so navigating the menus was a real hassle. The european versions were also
cursed with a EU regulated volume limit, which limited the output volume so much that the
player was mostly useless if there was any outside noise whatsoever.

Sandisk Sansa e200

SanDisk is most commonly known for making flash memory, but in 2006 they released a flash
player which made itself a place in history as a budget player.
Available in 2, 4 and 8GB capacities, it also had a microSD slot which provided additional
storage to push SanDisk core memory business. The 176x220 screen could display video and
photos, and it also had a FM radio. The player was a huge success and propelled SanDisk to be
#2 in the market despite buggy firmware. The e200 was also released in a rhapsody version.

Beside the e200, SanDisk also released smaller players - the c100 and c200. They didn't support
video, and were more like stick players.

Sansa e200 Review


Creative ZEN

2007 picked up where 2005 left off and was filled with new releases and new technology. The
Creative ZEN (not to be confused with the first Creatvie Zen) was released as the successor to
the Vision M, and marks the point where flash memory finally overtook hard drive players on a
normal consumer level

The ZEN is somewhere between the Vision M and the Vision W, sporting a 2.5" 320x240 screen
with the same basic design as the Vision W. The player has a SDHC expansion slot giving it up
to 32GB extra storage, but this was very poorly implemented and is more of a novelty than it
should have been. The ZEN was one of the first player to reach the magic 32GB of internal flash
memory, bringing it past the normal version of the Vision M capacity wise.

Creative Zen Review

CreativeZEN Stone and ZEN Stone Plus

The iPod shuffle released in 2006 was a nice gadget, but the price held it down. With the ZEN
Stone and the ZEN Stone Plus, Creative took the basic concept that Apple had messed up and
released a player anyone could afford. While the Stone was simple like the Shuffle, the Stone
Plus added a small screen, stopwatch, FM radio and voice recorder. Unfortunately the Stone Plus
was very sluggish and had a unfinished GUI, and was later pushed into the shadows by the Sansa
Clip. Now in 2008, the Stone and Stone Plus are being replaced with an upgraded version with
better battery life and integrated speaker.

Zen Stone Review | Zen Stone Plus Review

Archos Generation 5

The Generation 5 is a small update from the previous generation, and the 50X series has now
been dropped. The 605 WiFi comes in capacities of 30, 40, 80 and 160GB hard drive based,
along with a 4GB flash based version with an SDHC expansion slot.

The 405 is similar, and was at first only available in 2GB flash + SDHC, but has now been
upgraded to 30GB like it's predecessor.

The 705 is also a small update from the previous version, and the change is mostly software
wise. The 105 is a smaller flash based player with 2GB memory, with a OLED screen capable of
WMV playback.

Archos 605 Review

Cowon D2 and i7

The Cowon D2 released at the beginning of last year had one of the most impressive features
seen on any player at the time. Despite buggy firmware, it still stands strong.

The D2 Originally Came in 2 and 4GB, and was later upgraded to 8GB. It has a 2.5" 320x240
touch screen, radio, 52 hour battery life and an SDHC slot. Firmware upgrades have added
features like flash support, and the SDHC slot has made sure it is still in the game, with 24GB
max capacity currently.

The iAudio 7 is an upgraded version of the micro hard drive based iAudio 6 from 2006, but the
minor update also gave the player new life. With 16GB max capacity and a battery life of 60
hours, the player has won the heart of many because of the great sound quality and compact size.

Cowon iAudio D2 Review | Cowon iAudio 7 Review

Apple iPod Classic, Nano 3 and Touch

The new model iPods released in 2007 provided the biggest updates to the line in years. The iPod
classic is about the same as the iPod video, but available up to 160GB. The Nano series got a
whole new design, and video capability was added on a 320x240 screen. The Touch was the
biggest upgrade to the line, sporting a 3" widescreen 320x480 multitouch screen, WiFi and web
browser. The Touch was quickly hacked to allow for homebrew software, something Apple for
some reason have been busy trying to stop ever since.

Microsoft Zune 2nd Generation

The second coming of the Zune added an 80GB hard drive version and two capacities of flash
players, 4GB and 8GB. The old first gen Zune, now called the Zune 30, recieved a complete
overhaul of the firmware and user interface making it fit in with the new generation hardware.

Microsoft Zune 80 Review


iriver has previousely released the U10 (named clix in the US) which utilized a new clickable
screen frame system, and the clix2 is an updated version of this. The player has a 320x240 pixel
AMOLED screen, which means the colors are more virbant and true. The player is available in
capacities up to 8GB.

iriver also released a smaller version of the clix2, the S10. The S10 is meant to be worn as a
pendant, and has a tiny color screen for navigation. It uses the same click system for controls as
the clix and clix2.
iriver clix review | iriver clix2 Review | iriver S10 Review

Sandisk Sansa View and Sansa Clip

The Sansa View started as a PMP, but before it even got released Sandisk pulled the idea and
released the new version of the View several months later. The View is basically an updated
version of the e200, with bigger capacities and a larger 240x320 screen.

The Sansa Clip took everyone by surprise when it was released. Sandisk was known to have at
best average sound quality, but the Clip turned that around with some of the best sound quality
on any player. It's a direct competitor to the Stone Plus, but it's a way better attempt at that kind
of player. It has a small OLED screen, 1, 2 and 4GB capacities, and an FM radio.

Sansa View Review | Sansa Clip Review

Sony A810 and S610

2007 was the start of a new era for Sony. ATRAC is gone. SonicStage is gone. The S610 and
A810 players were the first players from sony that didn't support ATRAC; and that used a
standard MTP connection for transferring music.

The A810 is the bigger brother, with a 2" 240x320 screen and capacities up to 8GB. It's more
solid built than it's smaller brother, and comes with better headphones.

The S610 is basically the same as the A810. Screen resolution and capacities are the same, but
the physical size of the screen is only 1.8". Design wise it's different and smaller, and it also has
a FM radio that the A810 lacks.

Sony S610 Review | Sony A810 Review

Cowon Q5W
The Cowon Q5W marks the beginning of a whole new type of media players, merging computer
and media player into one device. With a price tag that mirrors the features, this 5" device runs
Windows CE, has WiFi and bluetooth, and can do pretty much anything you could ever want.

Samsung P2

Samsung had always been a average company, with players that never really stood out as being
too special. The K5 had it's speaker, and the T9 was an earlier adopter of bluetooth, but the P2
really showed the world what Samsung could do.

The P2 has a 3" 272x480 touch screen for video and photos, great battery life, and capacities that
just hit 16GB. The bluetooth functionality doesn't just include file transfer and stereo wireless
headphones, but also lets you connect to a phone and make and receive calls from the player.
The BlueWave system of firmware updates has provided the player with several new features,
lastly a better UI and games.

Samsung P2 Review


As 2008 has just started, players are still popping up and being announced every week. Creative
has been rumoured to work on a new hard drive player, Cowon hinted the D3 at CES, and iriver
has a whole bunch of players coming - starting with the newly released E100.

Sony's new players, the A720, A820 and S710 series, just hit shelves a few days ago, and have
added bluetooth and noice cancellation to their feature sets. Sandisk's new Sansa Fuze has
continued the trend of excellent sound quality started by the Clip, and their range of players is
now much stronger than it were just last year. MPIO is also coming back strong with the V10.
Creative may be releasing the Zen Share possibly with the first player it's size to support
uncoverted video since the ZEN Vision M.

The year is still young, and it's too early to tell how these new models will do. Last year was
filled with new technologies, capacity upgrades and inclusion of technologies such as bluetooth
and WiFi in more players. This trend will undoubtedly continue in 2008, and maybe we'll also
see new technology before the year is over. With the jump to 32GB of flash, the next step is now
64GB, and this might come sooner rather than later. SDHC cards are going 32GB too, and that
means players like the Cowon D2 and Creative ZEN will go up to 40 and 64GB respectively.
10 years of mp3 has shown us how fast leaps in technology can happen, from having 32MB of
music on the F10 to having 60GB of half media player half computer on the Q5W. Cell phones
are starting to take their share of the market and many believes that multi function phones will
make mp3 players obsolete before soon. Only time will tell, but personally I think we'll see at
least the 20th anniversary before that will happen, if ever.