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"New Option for Portable MP3 Player"

One of the biggest problems with MP3 is the lack of a portable player with adequate storage. The current generation of MP3 portables are limited because of their relatively small amounts of memory. At the most, these players can store only an hour or two of music, which is definitely not enough for a full-featured portable solution. A new player, the Personal Jukebox, is hoping to change all of this. 

This new portable MP3 player, which was originally designed by Compaq, is being manufactured by Korea's HanGo Electronics. It is attempting to solve the memory problem by using a 4.86 GB hard drive. The first in this line, the PJB 100, stores over 80 playback hours (1200 songs) or 120 CD's according to product documentation. Unfortunately, the device isn't as small as other MP3 players, such as Diamond's Rio, but it is relatively portable at 150 x 26 x 80 mm and 9.9 oz. 

The PJB 100 uses Motorola s 24 bit Digital Signal Processor that provides high performance and low power MP3 decoding, using licensed technologies from Compaq, and Fraunhofer IIS. The PJB 100 connects to a PC via a USB cable, which provides a fast and easy installation process. It offers fast direct digital transfers from a standard audio CD directly to MP3 files on the player and you can also transfer your existing MP3 collection to the player. 

Because this unit uses a hard drive, battery life and playback skipping could be a problem. However, advanced buffering extends battery life by turning on the disc drive approximately every 10 minutes. With a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, you can get approximately 10 hours of playback time between charges, and the device addresses the issue of skipping playback by using advanced jitter elimination technology. 

The user interface is one of the nicest available in a portable player. It uses three pairs of controls and contains high-resolution LCD displays with 6 buttons providing access to the device options. The included Jukebox Manager Software allows the user to easily customize and organize music as desired. This software manager can be used to customize play lists very efficiently. 

Standard accessories include a set of KOSS headphones, a universal AC adapter, the previously described Jukebox Manager software, a USB cable, a User Manual & Quick-start Reference and mini-to- twin RCA cable for playback through home audio systems. Optional accessories include external battery charger kit, an extra Lithium-Ion battery, and car audio adapter kit.

With the ever-increasing number of downloadable music files available on the Internet, a portable device may soon become a necessity. Memory limitations have restricted the use of these devices to only an hour or two of effective audio playbacks. However, with new devices like the Personal Jukebox, this limitation is essentially eliminated. Although the device is a bit pricey for an MP3 player, it represents what the future will undoubtedly hold.

  - by Clayton Crooks

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