D&M Holdings subsidiary Rio Audio on Monday introduced four new portable digital music players, including one squarely aimed at the same market as the iPod mini. The Rio Forge comes in 128MB, 256MB and 512MB capacities, while the new Carbon ships with 5GB of internal storage. All are described as supporting Macs and PCs.
The new Rio
Carbon uses a 5GB hard disk drive to store music. The Carbon transfers songs using USB 2.0, which also charges a rechargeable battery that works for up to 20 hours at a time, according to Rio Audio. The Carbon can also capture voice memos. An AC adapter and carrying case are included. The Rio Carbon is priced at US$249.
With 25 percent more storage capacity and a battery that lasts more than twice as long, the Rio Carbon is squarely aimed at the same market as Apple’s own iPod mini — selling for the same price as well. The Carbon works with MP3 and Windows Media Audio (WMA) formats, and will also support “Janus,” Microsoft’s forthcoming DRM technology, however it’s incompatible with FairPlay, the Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology Apple encodes music purchased through the iTunes Music Store.
Forge line incorporates flash memory-based storage that can be expanded using an SD/MMC memory card. It comes with an armband and can work for up to 20 hours on a single AAA battery. It also transfers files to a PC or Mac using USB 2.0. The Forge is available in 128MB, 256MB and 512MB capacities for $139, $169 and $199 respectively.
Rio’s new Forge and Carbon digital music players are expected to ship in August.