Rio 800 to hit UK in March

And you can already buy an expansion pack to double your memory and make a Rio 600 rechargeable

Sonicblue, formerly S3, will launch the Rio 800, its latest digital music player, in the UK before the end of March 2001.

The Rio 800 will ship with 64MB of memory as standard -- twice as much as its predecessor, the Rio 600. It can be used as a dictaphone and will store up to two hours of voice recording. The player also displays the percentage of power and memory available, and will be supplied with the same pair of folding headphones as the Nike MP3 player.

Both MP3 and Windows Media Audio (WMA) files are supported by the Rio 800. A Sonicblue spokesman claims that upgraded audio manager software -- also available with the latest software update for the Rio 600 -- makes it easier for users to edit and modify their playlist.

For around £89 (inc VAT) Rio 600 and 800 users can buy a "Backpack" unit which will add another 32MB of storage -- 64MB is available for £149.99. This means the Rio 800 could hold 128MB of MP3 files, enough for over two hours of music.

For Rio 600 users the Backpack unit has the extra advantage of including a rechargable battery -- something that comes as standard with the 800. The Backpack has been available since mid-January.

Sonicblue reveals it is also close to launching the Rio Volt -- a CD player which will also play MP3 files.

Rio 800 units should go on sale on 26 March 2001. Final pricing has not been confirmed, but is should not cost more than £249 (inc VAT).

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