iRiver adds T10 to its music player range

iRiver Inc. of South Korea will sell a new range of low-cost media players offering 53 hours playback time on one AA alkaline battery in the U.S. from early July. The T10 range consists of three media players that are designed to be light, sporty-looking and affordable, IRiver spokeswoman Anna Kim said Wednesday.

The three players store music in flash memory and have capacities of 256MB, 512MB and 1GB. They measure 85.8 mm (millimeters) by 40.8 mm by 29.4 mm and weigh 49 grams without the battery, according to the company.

The company will only sell the models in South Korea and the U.S., it said. The players went on sale in South Korea on May 15.

The models play audio files in MP3, WMA (Windows Media Audio) ASF (Advanced Systems Format) and Ogg formats using SRS Labs Inc.'s WOW surround sound simulation technology. They have LCD screens capable of showing 65,000 colors at a resolution of 128 pixels by 64 pixels, and a USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 port.

The 256MB model comes in lime green and will go on sale in the U.S. for US$120. The 512MB version comes in cherry red and will retail at $150, while the 1GB player is orange-yellow and will go on sale for $200, Kim said.

The prices are quite a bit lower than other iRiver players, Kim said. For example, the 256MB model is on sale in South Korea for 159,000 won (US$158), about 20 percent cheaper than many of the company's players with the same memory capacity, she said.

Competition increased in the flash-memory music player market when Apple Computer Inc. released its iPod Shuffle players in January: its 512MB model retailed at $99 and the 1GB model cost $149.

The market for media players that use flash memory will grow from 23.7 million units shipped in 2004 to reach 55.5 million units in 2008, according to market research company IDC in an estimate published in December.

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