Intel draws plan for portable media player

Intel, in an effort to further expand its business beyond computers, is developing a blueprint for a portable media player that relies on Intel hardware, the company said Wednesday.

The plan is for a US$400 device about the size of a paperback book that can play audio and video files and display photos. It will have an Intel XScale processor, 20GB hard drive and a 4-inch color display. USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 and wireless LAN (WLAN) will be available to transfer data from a PC, an Intel spokesman said.

Besides the processor and the blueprint, Intel will supply the USB and WLAN hardware and key software for the device. The Santa Clara, California, chip maker plans to sell the package to electronics companies who then buy the other needed components elsewhere and manufacture and sell the devices, the Intel spokesman said.

Although the devices come with WLAN support, it won't be possible to share content among devices because of copyright concerns, the spokesman said. Manufacturers are free to deviate from the blueprint, so devices with larger storage capacity or screens could come out, he said.

Intel expects to announce the first customers for the plan and the components later this year. The first products should be out next year, the spokesman said.

Intel discontinued its own range of consumer PC peripherals last year because of disappointing sales. The range included a digital audio player.

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