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Germany's Grundig launches MP3 player

July 20, 1999
Web posted at: 2:56 p.m. EDT (1856 GMT)

by Mary Lisbeth D'Amico


(IDG) -- German electronics company Grundig AG jumped into the digital-music market, with the launch last week of its MP3-Player MPaxx.

The MPaxx is a portable device that will play MP3 (Motion Picture Experts Group, Audio Layer 3) audio files.

MP3 is a technology that allows audio files to be downloaded from the Internet, then stored and replayed on a disc drive or mobile player, such as the MPaxx. MP3's compression technology enables the files to be stored without taking up large amounts of storage space, and the music quality is comparable to that of an audio CD.

After installing the necessary software on a PC, users download the MP3 files from the Internet or from a CD. The files are copied onto the PC hard drive, where they are then converted, compressed and copied onto a multimedia card that can then be inserted into and played on MP3 player. The multimedia cards can be copied over up to 100,000 times, according to Grundig.
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The basic package for the Grundig MPaxx includes two 16 M-byte cards, a stereo headset, a PC cable, a Mac adapter and a CD-ROM containing the software. The software is compatible with Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT, as well as with the Linux and Mac operating systems, Grundig said.

Currently, multimedia cards with 8M bytes and 16M bytes of space are available with MPaxx. In the future, Grundig will also offer 32M-byte and 64M-byte cards. ROS-Cards (Record on Silicon) are also available which are not rewriteable and also cannot be copied, on which users can keep songs that they do not want to copy over.

Grundig is the second European vendor to recently enter the market for MP3 players. In May, Thomson Multimedia SA said it would also launch a digital-music device called the Lyra, which will be available in the fourth quarter. [See "Thompson Unveils Portable Device for MP3 Music," May 3.]

The MP3 player will be available worldwide soon. In Germany, it costs about 399 marks (US$208); prices in other countries were not available.

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