A handful of companies making portable MP3 players are considering adopting IBM?s Microdrive, according to sources.
IBM?s Microdrive, which was launched last autumn, is the size of a coin and weighs less than an AA battery. Compared with similar sized solid state memory cards based on flash memory semiconductor technology, the 340Mbyte Microdrive has a lower cost per Mbyte and can hold five times more content.
The drive is extremely attractive to MP3 player makers because it can hold up to six hours of CD quality music, according to analysts. It is also likely to start cropping up in mobile phones and other portable devices.
The record industry will not embrace the idea of a new drive for MP3 devices as it has been opposed to the audio compression format from the beginning because it claims it is wide open to encouraging music piracy.
Instead the Recording Industry of America has been hard at work on its own open, secure specification which will be released towards the end of this year.
Both Diamond, which created the first MP3 player, the Rio, and IBM were unavailable for comment.
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