The Rio has landed... hasn't it?

The Rio MP3 player from Diamond Multimedia is in the shops according to a company spokesman, but ask him which shops and the words "mail order" and "soon" prevail.

The Rio has arrived in Europe. ZDNet UK News is looking at one now. But the machine that's got the music industry scared stiff is in scarce supply and could miss the crucial Christmas rush if Diamond doesn't get its delivery mechanism in order.

ZDNet UK News called three high street retail firms, including Dixons and PC World to find out when the Rio would arrive. One assistant at Dixons confirmed the Rio would arrive "soon" but pressed, conceded he did not know what it was or when it would arrive. Diamond's spokesman said the Rio units were in the UK but were on "limited availability".

But avid MP3 fans could be better off missing the festive rush: the spokesman predicts a 30percent fall, not only in the price of the Rio itself, but the flash cards it uses to store MP3 files, by the end of Q1 ‘99.

Diamond's spokesman confirmed the company is looking not only at alternative formats for music delivery, such as Liquid Audio, but is also working with IBM on the Madison Project.

Take me to the MP3 Special