Suppliers Target Portable MP3/Video Niches

By Joseph Palenchar On Jan 10 2012 - 6:01am




LAS VEGAS — MP3 and MP3/video players had a great growth run until A/V-playing cellphones became ubiquitous, but because dedicated portable media players still account for billions of dollars in sales, suppliers here at International CES continue to launch new models.

For the January through September 2011 period, MP3 and MP3/video players accounted for $3.8 billion of factory- level sales, down 6 percent from the year-ago period, Consumer Electronics Association statistics show. Unit sales of 22 million were down by 9 percent.

Here at CES, Sony is launching its first Android-based Walkman-brand MP3/video players to use the Android OS to download apps. HiFiMan is continuing to stake out its high-end niche in MP3 players, and Coby and Naxa are launching new MP3/video players with touchscreens.

Singapore’s Bluetree is launching an audio-only player.

Here’s what dealers will find at the show:

Bluetree Electronics: The Singapore company, which specializes in portable electronics, is launching the Kube2, a small curve-shaped device intended to tap into still-existing demand for standalone MP3 players, the company said. Details were unavailable.

Coby: The company is launching three new MP3/video players, all with color LCD touchscreens, integrated FM tuner, and rechargeable lithium-polymer batteries. The MP800 features a 1.44-inch touchscreen. The MP820 features a 1.8-inch LCD touchscreen and embedded memory capable of storing 2,000 songs, 4,000 photos or 24 hours of video. A MiniSD card slow allows for memory expansion. It supports ID3 tags and LRC for synchronized display of lyrics. A world clock and calendar apps are included.

The MP823 offers the same features but has a 2-inch color LCD touchscreen.

HiFiMan: The designer and manufacturer of headphones, high-end MP3 players and a USB DAC is coming to CES with its latest MP3 player, the audiophile- oriented HM-601 Slim.

It ships in January at a suggested $199 for the 4GB version and $249 for 8GB version. An SD card slot allows for the addition of memory cards with up to 32GB of storage.

The company’s MP3 players play back high-resolution lossless-music downloads, and they’re designed with high-end DACs to pass through that quality to listeners. The portables play most music formats, including MP3, WAV, FLAC, APE, AAC, OGG, WMV and the like. They also support gapless playback.

A high/low gain switch enables the HM-601 to drive both high efficiency in-ear headphones and most fullsize headphones. It features 8GB embedded memory, SD card slot for cards up to 32GB, a line output and USB port. The battery lasts hone to 10 hours.

Frequency response is said to be 20Hz to 20kHz with 0.09 percent distortion, and it delivers a 92dB signal-to-noise ratio. Unlike the HM-602, the HM-601 cannot work as a soundcard.

Naxa Electronics: Two new MP3/video players, each available in 4GB and 8GB versions, are the NMZ1822A with a 2.5-inch touchscreen and NMZ2419 with a 3-inch touchscreen, both available in a variety of bright colors.

Both feature voice recorder, built-in FM PLL digital radio, built-in digital camera, MicroSD card slot for memory expansion, USB input and built-in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

The 4GB versions will retail for a suggested $29 and $39, respectively. They ship in mid- January.

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