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Intel moves into MP3 players

Chip giant ready to release Concert Audio Player

Intel wants to be more than just the world's biggest CPU maker.

In the US the company is today announcing its latest consumer hardware device: an MP3 player with an FM tuner and 128MB of built-in flash memory.

The Intel Pocket Concert Audio Player will hit the shelves 1st February at a price of $299 (£202.54), according to John Middleton, marketing manager of Intel's connected products division.

It's just the latest consumer product from the company, which in recent months has also shipped a series of PC-connected toys, digital cameras, and wireless input devices.

The tiny device is clad in a protective metal skin and requires two AA batteries, which should power about ten hours of play.

Intel uses its own StrataFlash memory in the device, which lets the company offer double the flash memory of most small form factor MP3 devices currently on the market, according to Middleton.

The larger amount of storage should help people get more use out of the MP3 player without having to return to their PC as often to refresh the music. Intel says the device will hold up to four hours of music.

The player is the first of numerous new hardware products Intel is rolling out early in 2001, according to Middleton, including the upcoming Chat Pad and Web Tablet.

The Chat Pad uses the same technology as Intel's wireless keyboard and will let you send emails and instant messages through a connected PC. It has a small, grey-scale text-only LCD and is a very basic device.

The Web Tablet uses Intel's AnyPoint Wireless HomeRF networking to share an internet connection with an existing PC. Essentially an untethered browser, the unit has a colour touch display, plus a stylus and scrolling wheel to navigate.

Intel has yet to set release details or pricing for the UK.


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