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Motorola To Ship New MP3 Portables

7/30/2004 09:31:00 AM Eastern

New York — Motorola will expand its presence in the portable MP3 player business later this year with the introduction of three models, including one hard-drive-based unit that the company hopes can challenge Apple’s iPod.

The models, which were co-developed with MP3 player maker Rio, have a sports motif and are expected to start shipping during the third quarter. Motorola worked with Rio on both the industrial design and software.

The M500 features a 5GB hard drive and is slightly wider and thicker than a credit card. It uses a cellphone battery that can connect to any Motorola-based battery charger. Like a cell battery, the M500’s is replaceable, giving the unit a long life span, a company spokesperson said. It will play for about 25 hours on one charge and is expected to carry a $229 suggested retail price, said Bill Taylor, Motorola’s vice president of marketing.

The M25 features 256MB of internal flash memory, expandable to 1GB via an SD card slot, and will ship in time for the holiday selling season with a $149 suggested retail price.

The third model will be marketed as a step up to the M500. It also will be hard drive-based, but add a color screen for viewing JPEG images and incorporate Bluetooth wireless technology. A price has not been finalized, but it should be above $300 when it ships late in the fourth quarter or early 2005.