Good news for MP3 fans. Rio, one of the companies that were first to deliver MP3 players, is set to re-launch in the UK next year. It has a strong selection of models including a model that has been worrying Apple a little in the US.
Its iPod killer is branded the Rio Karma. It is cigarette-packed sized, boasts 20Gigabytes of storage and comes with a USB 2.0 connecting cable. Stateside it is selling for $400. In terms of features the Karma has the edge over the iPod.
One really cool feature is that it is accompanied by a cradle with an Ethernet connection to enable it to be integrated with a wired, or even better, wireless home network. Unlike its Apple rival also boasts a line input enabling the user to record music direct from their CD player/hi-fi system. Finally it supports Ogg Vorbis an open source audio format.
Of the three features the Ethernet cradle is a neat touch, the line input is found on almost all other MP3 hard disk players, while only a handful of techhy die-hards will care much about Ogg Vorbis.
In terms of styling and design it might be shorter and lighter than the iPod, but it is wider and still nowhere near as elegant.
The clincher could well prove to be the Karma’s battery life, which at 15 hours is twice the length of its Apple rival.
So while the Karma is unlikely to challenge the iPod’s seemingly unassailable position as market leader it should establish itself at number two.
Also new from Rio is the Nitrus, which sports a tiny hard disk capable of storing 1.5Gigabytes of music. Philips has a simliar product due to arrive next month.