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The man from Samsung, he say Yepp

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Korean combine Samsung has finally launched its Yepp MP3 player to the rest of the world. And it is promising an entire line of MP3 devices, including in-car systems and a standalone hardware-based CD and cassette ripper. The 58mm x 85mm x 17mm device emerged last year round about the time Diamond Multimedia was being taken to court by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for failing to add a copy protection mechanism to its own MP3 player, Rio. The ongoing controversy over Rio and MP3 persuaded Samsung to release Yepp domestically, but hang fire on on overseas sales. However, following Creative Technologies' launch this week of its Nomad player, Samsung has decided to follow suit and ship Yepp worldwide. The close timing of the launches shouldn't surprise anyone: Nomad is simply a rebadged Yepp, as these piccies, pointed out by a Register reader show. YeppNomad Yepp will be made availble in two versions: a silver standard edition and a gold deluxe model. Both contain 40MB of memory, expandable through the use of plug-in Flash cards. The deluxe model also contains an FM radio tuner, recording capability and personal phone number list. Samsung claims Yepp will hold up to 500 names and 160 minutes of recorded sound, but we suspect that wouldn't leave much room for MP3 songs. The Korean giant reckons the global market for MP3 players will be around 1.2 million units this year, of which Samsung hopes to have sold 500,000. It claims the MP3 market will reach 30 million by 2005. That's some way ahead of Diamond's sales, so the company is clearly betting on a major surge in the availability of Net-distributed music. That assumes the recording industry can come to some consensus on copyright protection, and that will depend on the Secure Digital Music Initiative coming up with a working system. It's due to offer a draft specification this summer, in order to issue a final spec. in time for devices based upon it to ship in time for Christmas. For its part, Samsung has equipped Yepp with its own system, SecuMax, which "protects users from pirating unauthorised songs", which presumably just means you can't port tracks from Yepp to Yepp, rather than from PC to PC. Samsung didn't release pricing for the players, but Creative is offering a 64MB Nomad for $249. That's way above the average price of a basic Walkman, so Samsung is going to have to push the cost down some way to achieve its goal of making Yepp "the Walkman 2". Assuming, of course, Sony's Netman doesn't get there first... ® See also Sony president announces Netman digital music player Creative profits plummet 60 per cent Diamond to copy-protect Rio

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