Aiwa announces first MP3 player/encoder

Alluringly-named MM-FX500 eliminates need for a PC

Aiwa has announced the first MP3 player to include a digital-audio encoder, effectively eliminating the need to connect the device to a PC.

Most MP3 devices, such as the Rio from S3's Diamond Multimedia unit, require a PC to either encode a sound file to MP3 format or download music from the Net. The new Aiwa MM-FX500, on the other hand, requires only an analogue source, from which the player compresses sound into the MP3 format and stores it in its memory.

The MM-FX500 is due for release in Europe at the end of September at a price of about £300, according to Aiwa.

Does this mean you can create perfect digital copies of your music and spread them across the Net? Not exactly: Aiwa has incorporated SDMI (Secure Digital Music Initiative), a copy-protected version of MP3 developed by a consortium of 180 companies.

Matthew Broersma contributed to this report

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