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Tenth Anniversary of First Commercial MP3 Player

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the now-they're-implanted-at-birth dept.

Music 166

Pickens writes "The first commercially released personal music player capable of handling MP3 files was launched in March 1998 — the MPMan F10, manufactured by Korea's Saehan Information Systems with 32MB of Flash storage, enough for a handful of songs encoded at 128Kb/s. In the US, local supplier Eiger Labs wanted $250 for the F10, though the price fell to $200 the following year prompted by the release of the Diamond Multimedia Rio PMP300. The Rio was released in September 1998, but by 8 October had become the subject of a lawsuit from the RIAA which claimed the player violated the 1992 US Home Recordings Act. It was later ruled that the Rio had not infringed the Act because it was not responsible for the actions of its customers. Thanks to its lesser known name, the F10 avoided such legal entanglements, but at the cost of all the free publicity its rival gained from the lawsuit."

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166 comments

32 MB is enough to get you broke, with the RIAA (5, Funny)

aleph42 (1082389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710810)

At about 10,000$ of damages per song, 32MB doesn't seems that small!

In fact, it should be "engough for everybody" ;)

$10,000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22711322)

Actually, it's $150,000 per song at maximum.

But even the RIAA has sense enough not to ask for the full amount, which is saying something...

Happy birthday (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22710824)

Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday dear mp3 player.
Huh, is that the RIAA at the door?

Re:Happy birthday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22711490)

You should change that last line to "The RIAA's coming for you" to make it rhyme ;)

And to think.... (5, Interesting)

TFer_Atvar (857303) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710842)

What if the RIAA had won that lawsuit? Where would we be with music today?

Re:And to think.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22711052)

Me? In the same place and more 'peers'.

Re:And to think.... (0, Troll)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711174)

Consumers would still line up with their wheelbarrows of cash and ignore the perfectly good independent artists.

Re:And to think.... (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711368)

I don't actually think you're trolling, but I do think that "ignoring" is the wrong term for it. Independent artists can be very good, but the vast majority of them are utter crap. Nobody wants to listen to an hour of crap music to find one good song, and while the music industry isn't revolutionary right now, there are still decent bands to be found, and the crap bands aren't as plentiful nor as bad as the independents. Most independent artists are independent because they can't get signed, and any that are good or popular get signed pretty quickly.

So, things will continue pretty much the way they are, a minority moaning about how independent artists should be given a shot while most people go to the more consistent label-backed artists. Because if there's anything we know, it's that labels are good at creating consistency.

Re:And to think.... (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711400)

"Independent" is a relative term. It can mean unsigned artists, artists signed with non-RIAA labels, or artists not signed by a major label.

Re:And to think.... (1)

Neil Hodges (960909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711466)

I don't actually think you're trolling, but I do think that "ignoring" is the wrong term for it. Independent artists can be very good, but the vast majority of them are utter crap.

Now isn't that true for all music, not just indie artists?

Re:And to think.... (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711266)

Music companies wouldn't have lost those billions to those commie pirates, CDs would be flying off the shelves, and those poor record companies would have the money to pay the artists everything they deserve every time! Right? Right?

Re:And to think.... (5, Informative)

Arguendo (931986) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711360)

Actually, the case (RIA v. Diamond Multimedia [cornell.edu]) was surprisingly limited and there's still a lot of debate about what it meant. Which is why we're still debating this stuff today. The Ninth Circuit simply held that MP3 players were not "digital audio recording devices" because they didn't actually make the digital copies (computers did). There wasn't much discussion of copyright issues.

However, the Court did reason that its ultimate holding was consistent with the purpose of the Audio Home Recording Act, which supposedly was to "ensure the right of consumers to make analog or digital audio recordings of copyrighted music for their private, noncommercial use." 180 F.3d at 1079 (citing S. Rep. 102-294). And then the Court said the following:

The Rio merely makes copies in order to render portable, or "space-shift," those files that already reside on a user's hard drive. . . . Such copying is paradigmatic noncommercial personal use entirely consistent with the purposes of the Act.
And then the company that made the Rio went into bankruptcy and Apple made a gazillion dollars. Sometimes it's good to be second to market.

RaveMP (4, Funny)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710862)

In the obsolete technology museum otherwise known as my house, I have two RaveMPs, one of the first MP3 players... and they both have the expansion chip to expand the memory to a full 128 meg! Almost enough for an entire CD! And the expansion chips only cost me like $150 each! (I got a good deal.)

Re:RaveMP (4, Interesting)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710876)

Forgot to mention that it only took 30-45 minutes to transfer enough songs to fill up all that 128 meg via the serial port interface, its sole method of connection - with proprietary transfer software.

How about the first MP3 CD Player? (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712150)

Still have the receipt from compgeeks.com for my Genica "MPTrip" MP3 CD Player purchased May of 2000. The first of its kind, it could hold a whopping 650MB of MP3s vs. the dinky 64MB the flash players did.... for only $99! http://web.archive.org/web/20000511030931/http://www.genica.com/MP3-CD.htm [archive.org]

It really was a POS though, every track on regular CDs buffered 3 seconds no matter what, including gapless CDs. It claimed to have read CD-RWs, but they later retracted that. My player did indeed play them until one day they stopped reading and started spinning the CDs BACKWARDS!

huh? (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710884)

I do believe it was the Diamond Rio PMP300 was first. I remember my order being on hold because of the lawsuit. I can't get to wikipedia. Anyone have insight?

Re:huh? (4, Informative)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710940)

The Rio PMP300 was the second portable consumer MP3 digital audio player (portable digital audio player), and was produced by Diamond Multimedia. It shipped in 1998.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_PMP300 [wikipedia.org]

Re:huh? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711236)

Well, it has never been successfully tested.

MOST tests are successful. Not so many of them produce a desirable outcome however.

Re:huh? (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711796)

Apparently the "I can't get to wikipedia." sentence confused you. Fortunately, I can remote into my work machine and see it from there, but there seems to be something wrong with my ISP's DNS resolution for wikipedia (yes, OpenDNS, blah blah blah, no there isn't any malware, diggity diggity).

Pontis MPlayer3 was out there, too. (2, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711628)

Another device that comes to mind -- although I can't remember firmly enough exactly when it came out to argue that it was "first" -- was the Pontis MPlayer3. It was definitely one of the first ones that I remember seeing, and from the archived press releases [findarticles.com] I can find, I think it came out in the Summer (Jul-Aug, maybe a bit earlier) of 1998. The German company that produced it limped along for a long time afterwards, producing some Linux-based devices in fact, although they now seem to have been subsumed by 'Arcus Audio [pontis.de]' which makes non-portable gear.

I always thought that the Pontis was a good design and deserved more success than it got, but it was an example of a bet on other technology that failed to pay off. The design didn't have any internal memory, and depended entirely on MMC cards for storage. At the time that meant 16 or, if you could find them, 32MB cards. (Data transfer through the serial port, no less.) Although the price on Flash memory eventually did come down to dirt-cheap levels, it took a lot longer than some of the rosy predictions Pontis made, and when really big cards did arrive, they came in the form of cripped SD cards rather than MMC ... and the Pontis wouldn't use SD cards.

I still have one of them kicking around somewhere. They had their strengths: the physical design was nice (no moving parts!), they ran a long time on two AA batteries, and the controls were simple enough to use without looking at the display, even if you were wearing gloves. The iPod could take a few lessons from it, frankly, particularly on that last measure. But it's all but useless now: although the cards it used were regular MMCs, they used a weird proprietary filesystem on the cards, and they can't be read or written to without the special reader and software.

It'll be interesting to see how long those cards hold their data for; years from now I wonder if I'll be able to stick some batteries in it and groan at my questionable taste in late-90s pop.

Re:Pontis MPlayer3 was out there, too. (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712040)

My first MP3 player was a Rio Chiba with the thumbstick. I even put a 512MB SD card in there so that I could have 768 megabytes of music. It still works, even after more than 5 years.

Re:huh? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711910)

I owned one, and if I were to look around, it's probably still around here somewhere.

It was in some ways a strange player because it connect via parallel port and really required an extra memory card to be of much use. The only reason I stopped using it when I did was that I broke the dongle and chose to upgrade to the PMP500 rather than to buy a new dongle.

Ahh, 1998 was a great year... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22710886)

It was an innocent time on the internet, when you could download mp3s from the web, and nobody cared if you didn't upload.

Re:Ahh, 1998 was a great year... (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711444)

That's because there was a lot of prestige in being an uploader. A friend of mine was one of the first in the city to get an experimental ADSL connection -- they weren't selling them to regular customers yet, and I don't think it was even heard of in the US yet. The first thing he did was to set up a massive MP3 server and max out his upstream bandwidth 24/7.

His other hobby was hacking his grey-market satellite receiver.

Re:Ahh, 1998 was a great year... (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711680)

I guess you don't remember the ftp ratio servers. Yes, back in the early age I did a little downloading. I've since legally purchased all that I downloaded.

I got my MPMan... (2, Insightful)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710888)

...about the same time I signed up for my slashdot account. :) I couldn't wait to buy the thing, but I eventually got an MP3 CD player to replace it. Couldn't beat 650MB of MP3's at your fingertips.

Mine still works (1)

themushroom (197365) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710890)

How many of you still own a PMP300?

(I won't ask about that first player... "who?")

Re:Mine still works (1)

TobyWong (168498) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710974)

I have a 500 which was the successor to the 300 and has a whopping 64 megs of memory. I have fond memories of my rio. Good looking, nice form factor, 1xAA battery = win.

Re:Mine still works (1)

jrockway (229604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711348)

Ah, memories. I remember wanting a 500 for christmas (since it had Linux support, and I didn't have anything else), but ended up getting a 600 instead. I had to reinstall Mac OS 8 just to sync over some mp3s.

It's nice that this isn't a problem anymore. Mass storage has made every mp3 player the same to the computer, which is an idea I wish they had when they releasted the 600 :)

Re:Mine still works (1)

JebusIsLord (566856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711020)

My first player was the Nomad Jukebox 3. I believe the Jukebox was the first hard-drive player, and the jukebox 3 was the first one to make me go OMG i need this! Bought in late 2001 or 2002, it had 20 GB and USB connectivity, and I still used it until only a year ago when it finally gave up the ghost.

I remember explaining to people why my discman was so thick, and then having to go into what made it better. Most people were pretty impressed, though it seemed too techy for the average joe (until Apple made it hip).

Personal Jukebox (2, Informative)

absurdist (758409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711214)

From Wikipedia:

The Personal Jukebox (also known as PJB-100 or Music Compressor) was the first commercially sold hard disk digital audio player. Introduced late in 1999, it preceded the Apple iPod and similar players. The original design was developed by Compaq Research (SRC and PAAD groups) starting in May 1998. Compaq did not release the player themselves, but licensed the design to HanGo Electronics Co., Ltd. of South Korea.

Re:Mine still works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22711190)

I still have mine, but it's now stuck in a box somewhere in my basement.
What sold me on the PMP300 (I even pre-ordered it) was the battery life.
1 AA battery, no skipping, and a bit more playing time than your portable CD player or cassette player.

Re:Mine still works (1)

virgil_disgr4ce (909068) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711362)

Right here -- though something broke on it a looong time ago. I must have stopped using it by that time because I never tried very hard to see what was wrong with it. I got mine while I worked at an Office Depot in high school... and let's just say it was... heavily discounted ;)

Re:Mine still works (1)

phreakincool (975248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711398)

I still got mine. Someday it will be worth a mint. Then I will profit $$$!

On a similar vein:
I also have my original and still working ATARI VCS, 400, 800, 800XL, & 520ST.
I still use on a regular basis, my SONY STR-AV970 stereo receiver, SONY SVR-2000 Series 1 TiVo (320GB, TurboNet/Cache Card), a Dell Inspiron 7000 (running Fedora 7), HP LaserJet 4P, Sun Ultra 10 (my webserver/email server/blog server), Sony DCR-10 Digital Camcorder, Sony 5-disc DVD changer, Sony PS2, Nintendo 64, and XBOX. There's many more. If its not broke, why fix it?

Re:Mine still works (1)

lorddarthpaul (730954) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711504)

Well, my Rio 300 only worked with Windows/98 on a PC with a Parallel Port. While someone had written some Windows/2000 software for it, I could never get it to work. I don't think Creative ever supported it after 98. I donated it to a local Boy Scout troop when I gave them my PIII machine. Also tossed in my serial port connected Olympus D-320L camera (now there was a great little early digital camera!). I still have way too much old gear, most of it worth not much. Want some?http://s90697863.onlinehome.us/ebay/misc/ForSale.html [onlinehome.us]

Re:Mine still works (1)

FamineMonk (877465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711624)

I never had a 300 but I had a 600 that I just loved and later I had a Riot, god that thing made me want to kill myself sometimes and it was like the biggest POS ever. Later on I had the Karma and it was a wonderful player but my hard drive gave out on me after about 7 months.

Over all I loved Rio and I wish they still made players like they did back in the day.

Liars (5, Funny)

martinX (672498) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710896)

The iPod hasn't been out for 10 years. Stop trying to rewrite history.

Re:Liars (0)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711156)

Damn straight.

Next up they'll be trying to tell us that Steve Jobs didn't invent the smart phone!

Re:Liars (2, Funny)

martinX (672498) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711180)

Before Steve Jobs, the phone was not smart.

Re:Liars (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711222)

Before Steve Jobs, the phone was not smart.

Spoken like someone who's never been to Japan (or Europe for that matter)

There's a reason the US is the only market the iPhone's doing well in.

Re:Liars (1)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711482)

At least buying iphone is not as humiliating as buying a motorola razrs. So, look! things are improving!

Re:Liars (2, Funny)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712134)

You can pay for Razors? Everyone I know who owns one just got it free with the overpriced, non-VoIP agreement they paid for with their major cellphone carrier.

Re:Liars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22712058)

Nothing like taking a joke literally...

Re:Liars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22711318)

You think we are not smart. We need their iThings.

Re:Liars (2, Interesting)

quantaman (517394) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711812)

The iPod hasn't been out for 10 years. Stop trying to rewrite history.
Surely the Apple name and Steve Jobs reality distortion field helped the portable players gain popular acceptance faster than they would have otherwise, but the technology was already on the market and improving, and the blatant advantage over cd players and tape decks would have become well known fairly quickly.

I wonder what the industry would look like today if Apple hadn't come on the scene, would the mp3 player industry still be as big?

not responsible for the actions of its customers? (2, Interesting)

nebaz (453974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710902)

Does that mean it is established that it is unlawful to rip MP3's yourself?

Re:not responsible for the actions of its customer (1)

matt21811 (830841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711014)

In Australia it was illegal until last year. Considering that the iTunes store didnt open there until 2005 leaving almost no way to use them legally , and around 200,000 had been sold by then, a large number of the population were basically criminals.

Re:not responsible for the actions of its customer (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711120)

1. there are no criminal copyright laws in Australia.. only the pathetic "especially egregious acts" wording in the Copyright Act which claims criminal prosecution may be possible.
2. way to set up the seppos and the limeys for a "wasn't it started as a prison colony" joke.

Re:not responsible for the actions of its customer (1)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711518)

1. there are no criminal copyright laws in Australia.. only the pathetic "especially egregious acts" wording in the Copyright Act which claims criminal prosecution may be possible.

Now that actually sounds reasonable, provided "especially egregious" starts at about "running a pirate content selling scheme" level or something. Of course, there's still the matter of how far civil charges will take you, which I really couldn't even begin making a decent guess at.

Re:not responsible for the actions of its customer (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712070)

Hey, wasn't it true that Australia was originally a prison colony? So it shouldn't matter that a large number of the population were basically criminals. I mean, that's true of us here in the US too.

I can see it now (1)

cbc1920 (730236) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710906)

I was a proud owner of the Rio500, and pumped that sucker up to 128mb with a SmartMedia card- total cost: $280. That was a lot for a poor high school student, but in return I was showered with first-adopter nerd envy. At that time, the idea of bringing 3 Cd's worth of music to school with me in 1/4 the space of a CD player was just awesome.

I can just see the internet comments now:
"Put 512mb on a player and I'll buy it right now- 32mb is just too small."

Re:I can see it now (1)

davolfman (1245316) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711240)

Me too. In my case I kept up with the firmware updates and topped it out at 196 (128meg smartmedia) years later. I still have it, but don't use it much because the power switch is acting kinda funny and my Palm, phone, and car stereo can all play MP3's off of cheaper flash with higher capacity these days.

And to think of it now... (2, Insightful)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710916)

Yeah, it was a few years after the first MP3 player, but more than anything the iPod launch was the real catalyst. I was one of the naysayers who thought "What the hell is Apple thinking?!?!?!" when the iPod came out. Guess the joke is on me, because I'm now an owner of that market dominating family of MP3 players.

The 6th birthday of the Personal Video Player is coming up in June. This is interesting, because legal video content is still a developing market. Apple is getting their feet wet with TV Shows and movies, but I believe that music stores were more developed in 2004 than video stores are now. In this market, I think that digital video download competitors still have a chance against Apple though. Especially if some big names like Tivo and Microsoft team up. I'd find it hard to purchase an iPod Touch if I could play Tivo recordings on a WMV player as a part of Tivo service. It'd make the $20 for the DVR + Video use totally worth it.

Oh, of course the redundant No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame.

Re:And to think of it now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22711070)

I'd find it hard to purchase an iPod Touch if I could play Tivo recordings on a WMV player as a part of Tivo service.
Will this help?

http://tivo.com/whatistivo/tivofeatures/tivotogo/mobiledevices.html [tivo.com]

Re:And to think of it now... (1)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711128)

Sorry man, but TTG is half baked at best. The software is poorly designed, and there are Macrovision restrictions (whoops, you can't transfer that!)

I'd put up with two weeks to watch certain programs (and current Tivo service), but I've had more than one movie (on the premium movie channels) that wouldn't transfer all together. 2 weeks, maybe 1.

They have to fix TTG before it would be compelling:
-Less restrictive. No limits (other than a current Tivo subscription) for unflagged content, and a couple of weeks (at least) to watch Macrovision protected content with limited transfer.
-Non broken software. The TivoToGo software added two services (Beacon and another one) that produced endless errors. Reformatting didn't help, and it is kind of invasive.
-An easier way to transfer. Maybe Series 4 Tivos can have onboard front USB?

TivoToGo really, really, sucks. I have an 100MBit network and it takes 12 hours to transfer a one hour show. It needs to be faster.
When Tivo can fix TTG to be more compelling and less DRM encumbered, it will appeal to me.

Re:And to think of it now... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712032)

Sorry man, but TTG is half baked at best. The software is poorly designed, and there are Macrovision restrictions (whoops, you can't transfer that!)

I'd put up with two weeks to watch certain programs (and current Tivo service), but I've had more than one movie (on the premium movie channels) that wouldn't transfer all together. 2 weeks, maybe 1.

They have to fix TTG before it would be compelling:
-Less restrictive. No limits (other than a current Tivo subscription) for unflagged content, and a couple of weeks (at least) to watch Macrovision protected content with limited transfer.
-Non broken software. The TivoToGo software added two services (Beacon and another one) that produced endless errors. Reformatting didn't help, and it is kind of invasive.
-An easier way to transfer. Maybe Series 4 Tivos can have onboard front USB?

TivoToGo really, really, sucks. I have an 100MBit network and it takes 12 hours to transfer a one hour show. It needs to be faster.
When Tivo can fix TTG to be more compelling and less DRM encumbered, it will appeal to me.


Can't help you with the premium programming - if your cable provider marks channels as "copy protected", TiVo has to obey them, unfortunately.

But TiVoToGo is great. You're obviously using the TiVo Desktop software, when there's a brilliant alternative available. After all TiVo Desktop only works on Windows. And if you use Mac, you must buy Roxio. And nothing for Linux. ...

Yeah, I'll keep you waiting. ...

You might want to check out this page [sourceforge.net] on some interesting information on what you can do with TiVoToGo. Supposedly, you can use this program [sourceforge.net] to automatically grab videos off your TiVo and encode them for whatever in the background too. In particular, this application [sourceforge.net] is very intriguing.

I only use the first, but a few use the second and like it. Nice having raw MPG files... (with closed-captions embedded, too).

Re:And to think of it now... (1)

KefabiMe (730997) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711292)

I had one of those 32MB flash Rios the day it came out. Two things:
  • The thing was light as hell. No motor, no tape, most of the weight was from the AA batteries. Because it was so light, it seemed flimsy compared to CD players or Walkmans.
  • When I first carried the thing around, people thought it was a pager. When I told them it played music, they thought it was an AM/FM radio. We aught to thank Apple for spending the time (and money) educating everyone about MP3s!!!

Re:And to think of it now... (2)

BungaDunga (801391) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711544)

I get the opposite: I carry around a cheap Palm V from way back when, mostly for ebook reading. The screen is remarkably usable, and it's practically the cheapest "ebook reader" available. Screw a $400 Kindle. People ask me whether it's a phone, at which point I have to remind them that there was a time when not everything and its mother was a phone; I tend to say "It's like a Blackberry... from the 90s."

Re:And to think of it now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22711692)

It IS lame though, compared to the superior alternatives. It's only the apple marketing hypnotism that fooled everyone into thinking it was the only MP3 player around.

Ah those where the days (2, Interesting)

Papabryd (592535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710952)

I remember my cousin waiting at the door for the delivery of his Eiger F10. He tore through the packaging and out slid a matte black device no bigger than a pack of cigarettes with a few silver buttons and a 3 digit LCD display like you'd find on the cheapest CD players.

If I recall the device had 32 megabytes of memory but accepted MMC type cards. The best part had to be the parallel port connection. A connection that (unbeknowenst to him) had to be reconfigured in the BIOS. After almost an hour of manual flipping and frantic swearing, he had finally transferred his first 8 songs to the first MP3 player available to consumers. And it only took 20 minutes! Oh progress...

wow (2, Interesting)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710964)

And to think I actually, seriously just bought my first non-optical MP3 player (as in CD-less) 3 days ago. I got the m250 that was on sale at newegg for $30. That was finally low enough for me. I'm so cheap (and poor). It's really good too if you're looking for one.

And now you can get 32GB flash (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22710984)

for under $200!
http://www.pricewatch.com/flash_card_memory/usb_32gb.htm [pricewatch.com]

An increase of capacity at around roughly 1000x in a decade. I don't know if the trend will continue.... but if it does we'll be at 32TB in another decade.

I guess even those who don't use music players can be thankful for those devices as they, along with digital cameras, were really were the commercial products on the market that really sold and pushed the flash envelope. Sure there were PDAs/GPS units and other stuff, but in comparison they really niche markets that were happy with 256MB or whatever in most cases. Now things like the airbook (and all the SSD notebooks to follow, yes there were earlier ones I know), iPhone and the convergence of devices will further drive the market for more space.

Re:And now you can get 32GB flash (5, Interesting)

matt21811 (830841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711068)

Yes, the price improvement of flash is awesome.
I've been studying this and if the price improvement rate of flash stays about the same as it has for the last 5 years (and hard disk does the same) it will only be 4 years before every laptop has a flash drive.

Charts and data here: http://www.mattscomputertrends.com/flashdiskcomparo.html [mattscomputertrends.com]

Re:And now you can get 32GB flash (2, Informative)

sectionboy (930605) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711536)

Just another testimony to the astonishing accuracy of Moore's Law.

"The complexity for minimum component costs has increased at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year ... Certainly over the short term this rate can be expected to continue, if not to increase. Over the longer term, the rate of increase is a bit more uncertain, although there is no reason to believe it will not remain nearly constant for at least 10 years. That means by 1975, the number of components per integrated circuit for minimum cost will be 65,000. I believe that such a large circuit can be built on a single wafer."

                      --Gordon E. Moore in Electronics Magazine, 19 April 1965.

Re:And now you can get 32GB flash (1)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711650)

Just another testimony to the astonishing accuracy of Moore's Law.

Of course it's accurate when you apply it only the patterns it fits. What about Moore's law on power utilization and batteries, or the power of the chip inside the MP3 player itself? Or even the MP3 algorithm itself?

I Used To Have A PMP300 (2, Interesting)

szyzyg (7313) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711044)

I always was under the impression that it had been the first portable mp3 player (well I guess technically my laptop was portable ad it could manage to play mp3, but you know what I mean) I read this article today and suddely felt a little less forgiving to my old player and the hoops I had to go through to get music from my linux box onto the player. Oh well

I remember it was one of the perks given to early employees at a dotcom called myplay which let users store their music collections online and access it from anywhere in the world, as long as you had an internet connection, it was of course another portable media player - the iPod which let people take their music collection (or at least a decent part of it) anywhere, regardless of interet connectivity.

Funnily enough I now work at imeem which lets users upload their music collections and share them with other users, the more things change, the more things stay the same.

I actually owned one of the first Rio 300s... (2, Interesting)

Ransak (548582) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711056)

Through a friend I was able to get my grubby mitts on a Diamond Rio 300, which I still have (and it still works). I paid close to $300 for it for one singular reason: lawsuits. At the time Sony and a few other of the RIAA mafia were trying their hand at court proceedings to stop the manufacture of MP3 players (while, all the while developing their own behind closed doors).

Of course they lost [virtualrecordings.com], but if they had won, it would have been an 'illegal' item, which would have brought me no end of satisfaction.

What's that old adage, when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns? It wouldn't have been much different.

Re:I actually owned one of the first Rio 300s... (3, Funny)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711520)

So, if you live in TX where gun laws are pretty much liberal, would u probably feel the urge to buy an ICBM just to stay on the illegal side? ;-)

Crippleware (2, Interesting)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711094)

$250 to carry around half an album. Genius! You really had to be a gimmick fan to be an early adopter for mp3 players.

Re:Crippleware (2, Interesting)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711118)

$250 to carry around half an album. Genius! You really had to be a gimmick fan to be an early adopter for mp3 players.

Hey I had one and to be honest I loved it, running with a mp3 player versus running with a CD player, which would you choose?

Re:Crippleware (5, Insightful)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711166)

At that stage - neither, I'd have chosen the cassette player :)

Re:Crippleware (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711666)

I wouldn't have chosen the cassette player. I had several, and when rollerblading, every bump or sudden spin altered the sound of the music because of the strain put on the tape drive motor. Moving parts = plenty of room for failure and alteration of sound.

Re:Crippleware (4, Interesting)

Mechanik (104328) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711138)

$250 to carry around half an album. Genius! You really had to be a gimmick fan to be an early adopter for mp3 players.

Or a jogger.

I remember at the time most CD players (and MP3 CD players eventually) had a bad problem with skipping if you ran with one strapped to your belt. There was so called "anti-skip" technology (just a buffer that in theory would get you through the period you skipped the disc), but it didn't work very well. Vigorous joggers (or rope jumpers, etc.) would find that their players still skipped. I had a few friends that were early adopters of flash based players because flash just didn't skip. It was better to listen to half an album than it was to have a full CD and be constantly annoyed by the audio cutting out.

Re:Crippleware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22711698)

Heh, my first and only Discman purchase had the choice of 10-seconds of anti-skip *OR* an AM/FM tuner for the same money (probably $200 or so). I went for the tuner because I figured radio wouldn't skip anyway, and for CDs I'd most often plug it into speakers. Still have it and still use it on occasion. I could never afford a Minidisc recorder unfortunately... ;-)

Re:Crippleware (1)

aniefer (910494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711778)

Or a Jogger.

This is exactly why I bought my mp3 player: a Samsung Yepp with 128 MB of flash. Sometime around 1999-2000 for something like $150.

I still use this player and have no need or desire for anything more modern. 1.5 hours is about the upper limit for how long I can run, so 128MB is enough room.

I'm still using my MPMan (5, Interesting)

siddesu (698447) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711194)

to study foreign languages. I had (from the ages before the internets) lots of language tapes, which I compressed about the time I got the thing. Since they sound a lot like bad phone anyway, compressing them to a low bitrate doesn't relly matter much. So, don't look down on 10 year old technology. Even in this age it can be put to good use ;)

Rio PMP 300 = marriage !? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22711350)

I got it back in 1999 for my gf. She was so pleased and now she is my wife, thanks to PMP 300 :-)

Now anyone want to buy *the* PMP 300 to impress their gf? Please contact me :-)

Re:Rio PMP 300 = divorce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22711436)

"You got me a WHAT?! I told you I wanted a PINK IPOD NANO! You better not have wasted any money on this... what do you mean you bought it from a guy on the internet. ARE YOU CRAZY? I want a DIVORCE!"

Re:Rio PMP 300 = divorce (2, Funny)

siddesu (698447) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711512)

You're one step ahead of yourself. You need to marry a gf before you can get a DIVORCE.

Re:Rio PMP 300 = divorce (2, Funny)

Warll (1211492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711574)

And seeing as how this is /. you'll likely also need to take step 0, get girlfriend. Wait scratch that, I forgot step -1, find female willing to stand your presence.

Heh (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711526)

I remember that much of my high school populace didn't upgrade from portable CD players to MP3 players until early 2006. Shows just how poor they really were. I remember my school banning them along with cell phones because OMG YOU CAN RECORD TEST ANSWERS AND BURN THEM TO A CD!!!1

I remember 1998. (1)

Average (648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711586)

Sometime in 1998, I got one of the very first CD players (discman style) that played discs burned with MP3s. Wonder how much that cost me at the time? Of course, I didn't have a CD burner, but my office did. Blanks were expensive, but you got a whole lot on one. Still skippable and non-pocket-sized, though.

My $30 player with an SD chip slot (and FM tuner) is quite nice enough for me. Also have an in-dash player in the car with an SD slot.

I remember (1)

leamanc (961376) | more than 6 years ago | (#22711638)

...the MPMan F10, manufactured by Korea's Saehan Information Systems with 32MB of Flash storage...

My first MP3 player wasn't the F10, but rather a Diamond Rio [wikipedia.org]. It too only had a 32 MB card. I remember encoding albums in 96kbps so that I could fit a 45-minute CD on my card.

I'm feeling a little spoiled with my iPods and the fancy 320kbps rips on them now.

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