MP3 player for cars shipping in UK

A UK-based company called Empeg began shipping a removable MP3 player for automobiles this week.

The player, which fits into a car dashboard, stores MP3 files downloaded from a Windows-based PC on a hard disk inside the unit embedded with a computer. To be able to download the files, users must install software in their PC, available on Empeg's Web site, http://www.empeg.com.

MP3 is a format for compressing audio files, so that they can be easily downloaded over the Internet and stored on a disk drive or mobile player.

Users add or remove songs onto the player by hooking up to the PC via a serial port cable or USB connection. The player also stores information such as the most-played tracks.

The MP3 player, which is 6in by 7in by 2in, is based on the Linux operating system, the company said. It also includes an FM tuner. The models range from a 4GB model, which allows for storage of almost 70 hours of continuous music for $US1099, to the "monster" 28GB model, which can store 476 hours of CD quality music for $US2500. The company is also shipping additional kits, for $US40, which allow the unit to be used in a second location.

The songs cannot be transferred to any other type of device, the company said, because it does not want the player to be used to pirate music.

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