S3 has announced today that it has shipped their Rio 600, the highly anticipated first member of the new family of third-generation Rio handheld digital audio players.
The Rio 600 will feature full support for the music industry's most popular digital formats and easy upgrade of the player's processor via the Internet to support forthcoming formats such as AAC and Audible. As well, the Rio 600 is designed to be "future proof", i.e. customers will be able to buy new, completely compatible and interchangeable memory "Backpacks" to operate on their existing Rio players, instead of replacing their players as new memory emerges. Currently, the Rio 600 comes packaged with a one-hour on-board memory that can be augmented with flash and microdrive snap-on memory.
(Flash Backpacks will ship with one- and two-hour storage and, through a partnership with IBM, a Microdrive Backpack will provide approximately 10 hours of additional music.)
Record labels are steadily moving to capitalize on the anticipated success of the Rio 600. Hollywood Records, owned by the Walt Disney Co., has partnered with S3 to pre-load music from the "Mission: Impossible-2" soundtrack on Rio 600s as they ship.
"We are impressed by the Rio 600's new design and support for secure music formats," said Ken Bunt, director of digital marketing for Hollywood Records. "The industry has been waiting patiently for a well-designed, user-friendly player. We are pleased to partner with Rio to provide digital music from our promising new artists."
S3's new Rio players are bundled with Rio Audio Manager 3.3 software, designed by RioPort.com, Inc., enabling music files/content to be transacted, acquired and managed within a single application. Listeners can sort, categorize and edit all of their digital music tracks with the playlist manager and an integrated browser connects seamlessly to the Internet for access to online digital audio tracks. Personal CD collections can be downloaded as MP3 or WMA files, and placed directly on the Rio 600. Among other features, the new Rio Audio Manager allows consumers to burn custom CDs with their favorite digital tracks.
In addition, the Rio 600 has a unique ergonomic design, interchangeable faceplates, and an optional remote control. Custom designed headphones deliver superior audio fidelity through an integrated equalizer and a fully-optimized digital music processor.
S3 is the first company to develop an entire family of portable digital audio players specifically designed with styles, feature sets and price points that appeal to a variety of lifestyles and market segments. The Rio 600 has features that appeal to broad audiences with active and trendy lifestyles. And, coming later this summer, the Rio 800 will include an enhanced design and premium feature set that appeals to technology enthusiasts and business travelers.
The Rio 600 shipped to North American retail outlets including Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Fry's Electronics and The Good Guys with a suggested retail price of US$169.95. The package ships with high-quality, over-the-ear sport clip earphones; a USB cable; AA battery; audio management software for PC and Macintosh and a user's guide. One-, two-and ten-hour memory Backpacks and additional faceplates will soon be available. More information about accessories for the Rio 600 can be found at www.riostuff.com.
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