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Intel goes mobile with MP3

Intel hopes to shake up the digital audio market with the announcement that it is to release an MP3 player which it claims can hold twice the information of competing players in the same price bracket.
Written by Lisa Burroughes, Contributor

Intel hopes to shake up the digital audio market with the announcement that it is to release an MP3 player which it claims can hold twice the information of competing players in the same price bracket.

The 128MB Intel Pocket Concert provides up to four hours of music programming, as well as an FM radio player, and seen as an aggressive step by the chip giant to make further inroads into the consumer market. The company denies the move is a result of the slowing demand in the PC market. A spokeswoman said the product fits with other Intel branded consumer products that have "a common goal of extending the value of the PC at home and with the internet". However, analysts disagree. Ashim Pal, senior analyst at the Meta Group said: "Intel gave a profit warning recently and this was partly due to saturated demand in the PC market and also because there is a reducing price point and margins are getting lower." He added that the move was inevitable. "If you look at the way that the PC market is evolving it becomes much more diversified in terms of the product types people are using," Pal said. Priced at $299 it is predicted to spark a price war in the industry, as some rival product retail up to $499 with only 64MB memory. Also because of the company's size, Intel's presence in the market is expected to add legitimacy to what is still a young market. However, it joins what is already a highly crowded portable MP3 market that International Data Corporation predicts will grow from the estimated 1.3 million units shipped in the US in 2000 to 6.7 million in 2003. Other computer companies also are diversifying their offerings. Compaq Computer Corp. came out with an MP3 player last summer, while Gateway teamed up with America Online in autumn to sell an internet device that just needs to be plugged in and connected to a phone line.
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