Samsung adds WOW to new MP3 player

Samsung Electronics has unveiled what it expects to be its most popular flash-memory based digital music player for 2003.

The YP-55 will be available in two versions, one with 128M bytes of memory and one with 256M bytes of memory, and is the first MP3 player to include SRS Labs' WOW surround sound simulation technology, according to the company.

The player also includes an FM radio and has a real-time encoding function that enables users to record both radio or audio from an external device, such as CD player or microphone, connected via a mini jack. There is a USB (Universal Serial Bus) 1.1 socket to connect to a personal computer.

A single AAA battery provides power for the device and should last through around 15 hours of playback, said Samsung.

The player is encased in a small cylindrical aluminum case that certainly gives it a cool look. A few buttons grace the outside of the case in addition to a small LCD (liquid crystal display) that displays information about the track being played.

It was designed to make it appeal to the youth market and Samsung expects sales of the player will contribute to around 60 percent of the estimated 200,000 players it aims to sell in South Korea this year. Samsung said it expects the entire domestic market to be 400,000 in 2003.

The player will go on sale in South Korea on April 20 and cost 209,000 won (US$172) for the 128M-byte version and 249,000 won (US$205) for the 256M-byte version.

Samsung has not decided on sales plans for the device in overseas markets although the company usually follows domestic sales with international launches. It currently sells MP3 players in the U.S., China, South East Asia and Europe.

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Martyn Williams

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