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Slim Devices adds 802.11g to wireless MP3 player

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Slim Devices will ship the second generation of its Squeezebox wireless music device at the end of the month, the company revealed this week.

The appropriately named Squeezebox 2 incorporates more advanced hardware and support for a broader array of audio formats.

We were a little disappointed to see that AAC, iTunes' preferred audio format, remains unsupported, although the device's computer-side server software continues to transcode the format on the fly. However, the addition of the higher-bandwidth 802.11g wireless network standard should alleviate the problems the previous generation of Squeezebox had in transmitting uncompressed audio over a non-dedicated WLAN.

Indeed, Slim Devices touts Squeezebox 2's improved support for WAV and AIFF uncompressed audio - a benefit for audiophiles too - and lossless compression technologies, such as FLAC and Apple Lossless. It supports MP3 natively, while the server software can decompress and send AAC, WAV and Ogg Vorbis files.

As yet there's no direct support for Windows Media or iTunes DRM technologies.

Squeezebox 2 incorporates a much improved, Burr-Brown digital-to-analog, Slim Devices says, and more buffer memory to store incoming audio ahead of processing. The hardware now features digital optical and co-ax S/PDIF outputs, and a higher-resolution display.

For WLAN users, the device now acts as a wireless bridge to extend the reach of the network to which it's connected. Multiple devices can receive music files - the same ones or different tracks - from the host computer.

Squeezebox 2 ships on 31 March, and Slim Devices has already begun taking orders. It's available in black or silver colour schemes, both for $299. A wired-only version will retail for $249. ®

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