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Tosh readies MP3 music player

Rio-style device to drive return to hi-fi market

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Toshiba is set to return to the audio consumer electronics market this year with an MP3-based digital music player, according to reports in Japanese business paper Nihon Keizai. Toshiba pulled out of the hi-fi market back in 1989. But by focusing on the Internet music business, the company's return isn't as radical as it might at first sound. In essence, releasing an MP3 player, which will interface with a PC, is simply an extension of Toshiba's existing computing business. Details of the upcoming device are vague, beyond its use of MP3 files downloaded via a PC then stored on plug-in memory cards -- exactly what you'd expect. The player will also almost certainly be compliant with Phase I of the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) specification. Pricing has yet to be decided, a Toshiba spokesperson told Nihon Keizai, but it will be released simultaneously in the US and Japan, probably in time for the Christmas sales period. ®

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