Rio Says “Me Too!” to 6GB

In the wake of every other device, Rio has announced that it too will upgrade its mini-sized audio player, the Carbon, to 6GB. It is supposed to be available June 1st and will retail for $229 [Via Engadget].

Editorial note: does Rio even care about this market anymore? They haven’t released a new product in forever and the long-rumored Karma 2 is nowhere to be seen. Apple, iRiver, Creative, Archos and everyone else are actively moving their product lines forward with nary a peep out of Rio. What’s gives?

iRiver H10 Gets a 6GB Boost

It looks as if iRiver will be upgrading (in Korean) the H10 from a 4GB capacity to 6GB in the near future. Moves like this are pretty much a no brainer these days, as the iPod Mini and Creative Zen Micro have already made the jump. [Via DAPReview].

New Roc Box Site

New RocBox owner Knighthawk has started a new community site, the roxbox Blog. If you are (admittedly, one of the few) RocBox users, check it out.

Big thumbs for Knighthawk prodding into Roc Digital open-sourcing their firmware, though. We wish him the best.

Related Links:
Rocbox First Look
The Roc-A-Fella Rocbox

Cowon iAudio X5 Info and Photos

The ever-resourceful DAPReview gang has gotten their hot little hands on what might be the only iAudio X5 in the US. They’ve got lots of photos and even more photos on the new audio/video player. And we’re sure they’re cranking away on a review as we speak, so stay tuned for that.

As you can see from the picture below, the X5 sizes up very favorably to the iPod while cramming in quite a few nice extra features.

Most noticably, the X5 has a bright, 1.8″ color screen. Models will come in a range of capacities from 20GB up to 60GB and will not only play audio, but video as well. Past iAudio models have had excellent support for various music formats beyond MP3s (such as Ogg and FLAC) and we expect no different from the X5. We’re not sure yet, though, which video formats the X5 will support.

Another big thumbs up for the X5 comes from its support for USB On the Go, which lets you import photos directly from a digital camera. Neither the iPod Photo or the iRiver H320 (the US version, at least) have this capability out of the box.

No word, however, on when (or IF!) it will be available in the US. Currently the X5 is only sold in Korea.

Related Links:
Cowon iAUDIO M5 Announced

iRiver H10 Review

Gear @ IGN.com has been dormant for a while, at least with respect to audio players, for quite some time. However, they emerged briefly from slumber to post a new review of the iRiver H10.

The review author, Chris Roper, gave it an 8.5/10 and strong praise:

I really like the iriver H10 quite a bit. The audio quality is excellent and the touch strip works very well. The whole interface is simple to navigate through with this setup, making for a quick and easy track selection process.

MP3 Player market Big and Getting Bigger

Market analysis firm JupiterResearch is predicting that the US MP3 player market will grow by 35% in 2005 and end with 18.2 million devices being sold.

Also, Jupiter predicts that once a “critical mass” (around 15%-20% of the population) gets their hands on audio players this year, demand for a new a wave of associated products and services (accessories and online music stores, for example) will emerge.

iAudio M3L Review

HWZone has posted a lengthy review of the iAudio M3L, a device that hasn’t gotten a lot of press since its introduction. If you’re not familiar with the M3L, it’s a 20GB audio player marketed under both the Cowon and JetAudio brand names.

Notably the M3L does not have an LCD on the main unit, rather it’s on the inline remote control. Also the ‘L’ stands for Long, as in battery life. The M3L has a higher capacity battery than its cousin, the M3.

Online Music Store Comparison

ExtremeTech has taken a look at the many popular online music stores and compiled their thoughts into one big roundup. All the biggies are covered: eMusic, Apple’s iTunes Music Store, MSN Music, Napster, Sony’s Connect Service, Musicmatch, Rhapsody, Virgin and the Wal-Mart Music Downloads Store.

As you can see, there are a lot of choices and a lot of variables to consider, so their last words are probably the best:

All of the services we looked at offer free limited-time trial periods, so if you’ve been looking to expand your music collection, and are looking to move beyond CDs, then give one of these services a try. In some cases you’ll need to give a credit card number during the trial period, and the cancellation is an opt-out process where you’ll stay in the service if you don’t actively de-activate your account. So if you decide a service isn’t for you, don’t forget to actively shut the account down to avoid unwanted credit card charges.

Bluetooth for the iPod with the Thanko iCombi

The iPod accessory parade continues. Korean company Thanko is debuting the iCombi AP11, which turns your iPod into a Bluetooth transmitter. Now you can listen to your iPod, wirelessly, through Bluetooth headphones or on your laptop.

The AP11 supports A2DP, AVRCP, Headset and Hands-free Bluetooth profiles, though Headset and Handsfree wouldn’t give you stereo sound. Range is said to be around 10m (32 feet). [Via DAPReview]

BTI Tunestir iPod Remote/Receiver/Transmitter

BTI has announced an interesting new iPod accessory, the Tunestir. It combines an FM receiver, an inline remote and an FM transmitter into one package. The Tunestir even has 5 presets for listening to radio stations and another 5 presets for open FM channels to transmit on. Everything is controlled from the inline remote control unit.

Retailing for $69.95, the Tunestir is supposed to be available later this month. [Via Engadget]