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DataPlay To Debut In Evolution Device

1/08/2002 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Portable audio maker Evolution will ship the first DataPlay products starting around March, beating rival licensees Samsung and Toshiba to market by at least three months.

Evolution founder and CEO Brad Deifer, said he was surprised that his firm managed to nudge out Samsung and Toshiba, but attributed the move to the long-relationship he developed with DataPlay. During the past several months DataPlay executives had suggested that the first vendors to roll out a product would be those who had a financial stake in DataPlay, such as Toshiba and Samsung.

Deifer is lining up a series of promotions to push the as yet unnamed portable audio device, which is expected to carry a suggested retail price in the $329 range. Evolution is partnered with MTV to promote and merchandise the product. One segment of this partnership has the DataPlay player being co-branded with the Evolution and MTV logos appearing on the case and the music video channel will kick off its promotional efforts at CES, here.

About 100 or so pre-recorded music titles are expected, but Deifer said he is actively working with several music companies that have already committed to move as quickly as possible in getting it onto store shelves.

Evolution started taking pre-orders for the device the week before CES. Deifer expects to have a three-month window where his company is the sole supplier of a DataPlay device in the market.

Chris Cudina, Samsung's senior business development manager, said it hopes to have a DataPlay device on the market by mid year. Samsung will have a few prototypes at CES this week.

Toshiba did not comment on its plans for DataPlay products.