SonicBlue launches 'sub-$100' MP3 player

By all of one buck

Portable digital music players are finally moving away from the 'ridiculously expensive' price bracket and into the 'affordable' range, if SonicBlue's latest launch, the $99 Rio One, is anything to go by.

That's still a lot to pay when you consider you can pick up a good Walkman for 20 quid, but it's definitely improvement over the likes of Sony's MS Walkman, which weighs in at £299 ($430.56).

The Rio One is styled along the lines of the Rio 300, which means it's essentially the same thing, tarted up and knocked down in price. It ships with 32MB of on-board memory - though there's an add-in slot for more - USB connector and a pair of earphones. Batteries, for once, are included - there's a single AA cell in the pack, enough claims SonicBlue (formerly known as S3, formerly known as Diamond Multimedia) for ten hours of listening enjoyment.

The duration of audio it will hold depends on music format - MP3 or Windows Media Audio - the sample rate and whether you're storing music or spoken word. SonicBlue says you get an hour of CD-quality music using WMA, but your mileage may vary.

SonicBlue is selling the Rio One direct right now, and will release it to retail in a couple of weeks. Overseas buyers may to have wait a little longer. ®