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World+dog parades iPod wannabes

MP3 crazy

Reg Kit Watch Sales of digital audio players are surging. According to market researcher Gfk, the market for MP3 players in Europe has grown 200 per cent in the last six months.

That's good news for the many manufacturers that showed their newest models at the IFA Consumer Electronics Show in Berlin this week. Models varied from feather-light chip card players and portable hard disks for archiving vast libraries to network-compatible MP3 players and portable CD players which can copy disks and read from compressed sound formats.

Philips MP3 player

Philips showed the world's smallest and lightest portable hard disk player, a black iPod duplicate with 15 GB of memory that can hold up to 3,000 tracks or a week of continuous music. Its applications also include the ability to store photographs and to serve as a dictation machine. The unit is expected to cost €550.

Thomson Multimedia demonstrated a Lyra Audio/Video Jukebox (PDP 2860), a 20GB handheld digital video and audio player that can hold up to 80 hours of video or 600 hours of digital music in the mp3PRO format.

LG introduced its neat line of MP3 players, including the new MF-FD15. You can hang this sporty looking Mp3 player around your neck and enjoy radio programs and MP3/WMA files. The MF-FD200 even resembles a neatly designed lipstick.

Samsung MP3 player

Samsung Electronics has enhanced its yepp line of flash-memory based portable digital audio players with support for both MP3 and WMA formats. A new 256MB model with a built-in FM tuner has been launched to meet consumer demand for greater storage capacity. Both the YP-55H and YP-55V models are crafted with a sleek, thin cylindrical design that easily slips into your pocket.

Apple's iPod is the best selling MP3 player by far. iPod alone accounted for 7.2 percent of Apple's revenue in the latest quarter, compared with just 1.5 per cent a year ago, as iPod sales surged 405 per cent. ®

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