has expanded its digital audio line with a product that seems destined to compete with Apple’s iPod. The Rio Riot is a hard drive-based portable music player. Built around a 20GB hard-drive, it can hold over 5,000 songs (that’s 400 CDs worth), according to David Huffman, vice president of audio product marketing at SONICblue.
And, interestingly, in announcing the product, SONICblue says the new device comes bundled with iTunes, Apple’s music management software.
The Rio Riot integrates SONICblue’s newly developed Rio LogicTrack user interface, the category’s largest backlit display and an ergonomic design. It includes an integrated FM tuner, “long-life” rechargeable batteries and music management software from MoodLogic. The software cleans up ID3 tag information, generates and shares one-click playlists based on music tastes, auto classifies music and recommends songs.
The device has a scroll wheel and dedicated, one-touch buttons and play controls. It offers a visual-menu navigation system for sorting through songs by track, artist, album, year, genre and favorites. Its Rio DJ playlist creator can generate custom playlists of new music, songs by year or decade and favorites. The Rio Riot also has a backlit, high-resolution (240 x160) display. A16 MB SDRAM buffer stores music in memory and stops the hard drive from spinning during playback — delivering up to 12 minutes of electronic skip protection, Huffmann said.
MP3 and WMA playback is also offered. SONICblue plans to add support for the Audible spoken audio content service into the Rio Riot in a future release, Huffmann said. And it comes with over-the-ear headphones and a carrying case.
The Rio Riot is due before the end of February. It will have a manufacturers suggested retail price of $399.95.