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Prices for MP3 players to drop

Cirrus Logic has squeezed most of the components in a digital music player onto a single chip, promising Internet music players for under £70

Cirrus Logic on Wednesday announced a new chip that could cut the price for Flash-based digital music players to less than £70. The Maverick EP7409 processor, which will be available in full production quantities late this year, integrates many digital music player components onto a single chip, allowing for lower cost and reduced power consumption.

The company, based in Austin, Texas, said the new Maverick chip should also nearly double the length of time a player can operate on a single set of batteries.

Present players, which mainly use MP3 but can generally also play formats such as Windows Media Audio (WMA), are in demand because they can transfer Internet audio files from a PC, but they are far more expensive than a comparable portable tape or CD player.

The chip will begin sampling in the third quarter of this year and will begin full production in the fourth quarter. 128-pin and 144-pin versions are priced at $15.85 and $16.35 in quantities of 10,000 units.

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