MP3 players can be seen all over this year's Consumer Electronics Show but the latest gadgets are able to play MP3-CDs as well as standard audio CDs.
Vertical Horizon and Multichannel Labs demonstrated their respective portable MP3-CD players that are the size of a standard CD Walkman and cost only around $179.
With these devices consumers can now playback both their standard CDs as well as CDs burned with MP3 files, which means that MP3 enthusiasts will be able to take away their ten plus hours of MP3 music mixes away from their PCs.
MP3 CDs can already be purchased in the Far East and can hold around 650 minutes of music which equates to around 200 songs, explained Sung Giu Chung, presidentof IT&T which distributes MP3-CD players.
"You are looking at getting the entire Beatles collection on one CD and with MP3-CD players in cars you will be able to make a compilation of your favourite tracks to take on the move," he explained.
Battery life for the players is around nine hours.
MP3 CDs are currently not available for sale in Europe or the US due to wrangling over copyright issues with the record industry.
Giu Chung believes, however, that this will be sorted out quickly as the MP3 medium rapidly capturesthe imagination of consumers.
Both Vertical Horizon and Multichannel Labs MP-Juke players are expected to be available in the UK by May this year.
MultiChannel Labs has also come out with an ultra slow playback digital MP3 player for music and language learning.
Playback speed can be controlled on the MP-Talky without any pitch change. Anyone whose first language is not English,for example, can listen to CNN news in slow playback using files that have been downloaded from the Internet.
The unit weighs only 70 grams and runs on two AA batteries.
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