Linux in-car MP3 system to ship in March

UK company ready to begin production after passing FCC, CE tests

British hi-fi start-up Empeg has begun production of its forthcoming in-car MP3 player, the company has revealed. The move comes after the unit passed US and European electromagnetic emission tests. The Empeg-Car system was announced last October (see UK firm announces MP3 player). The Empeg-Car prototypeThe device contains up to 28.2GB of disk storage (the base model contains just 2.1GB of storage), allowing users to store some a massive 476 hours of MP3-encoded music, the equivalent of 500 albums. The unit also features a FM stereo tuner, and can be removed from the host vehicle's dashboard for security and to load it with music tracks. Because the Empeg-Car is effectively a StrongARM-based computer running the Linux operating system, Empeg hopes the device will not fall foul of the kind of legal battle that briefly held up the release of Diamond Multimedia's Rio portable MP3 player. Computers are exempt from US legislation requiring consumer devices capable of recording music to pay a royalty to the music industry. Empeg will ship the system with Windows 95/98/NT software to allow MP3 tracks to be downloaded from the Internet and piped over to the Empeg-Car's hard drive via a serial or USB link. The company says the machine will ship in March. US pricing is expected to be around $949, excluding shipping costs; in the UK it should retail for around £699. ®

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