A Year Ago: MP3 revolution? Hardly...

A music revolution was promised at a London press conference last week, when Edinburgh-based Memory Corporation unveiled the latest kit to exploit the phenomenon that is MP3
Written by Richard Barry, Contributor

The revelations were less of a revolution, more of a step in the right direction as David Savage, the company's chief executive, explained the merits behind what looked like props from a cheap sci-fi movie.

The MP3-Go is comprised of the parts: The Soul Mate -- a Rio clone; its impressive docking station-cum-CD copier, the Music Store; and perhaps the most exciting of all, a dedicated mini-kiosk called the Audio Port, which we later learned would not grace the UK until cable or satellite hits the mainstream sometime in 2001.

The Soul Mate, a portable MP3 player, is another feeble attempt to steal music away from traditional music media and put it onto high capacity flash cards. It can hold over an hour of "CD-quality music" (recorded at either 122kBps or 128kBps) or two hours at 96kBps (FM quality).

Why feeble? Because although it can leave the Rio standing when recording music (one hour of FM from the Music Store in less than 10 seconds; 20 seconds for CD quality), it can still only hold one complete album per 48MB or 64MB flash card.

These cards are expensive -- far too expensive to have a selection in your pocket leaving the user with just one album on that long flight home. Hardly ideal for a consumer market.

The Music Store, which was constantly referred to as a juke box, is basically a CD player connected to a 4-6GB hard drive that holds recorded CDs in encrypted MP3 format. The fact the Music Store can hold over 100 CDs and pump them one over at a time to the Soul Mate in double quick time is the only exciting feature this product has for UK users.

As for the Internet Audio Port, which doesn't really go onto the Internet at all, rather a dedicated FTP site housing MP3 files, well this little number will have to wait till the UK catches up with America and Cable modems are king.

Revolution, erm think not, but definitely a promising start.

The MP-3 Go is expected to arrive in shops before Christmas for between $350-500.

Take me to the MP3 special.

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