A decade has passed since the world's first MP3 player hit the shop shelves. Saehan Information Systems' MPMan F10, a Korean wonder at the time, was the first music player that was capable of playing MP3 files. It had a inch-or-so wide LCD and a whopping 32MB of Flash storage that could hold around eight songs. F10, measuring 91x70x165,5mm, was announced at CeBIT show in Hannover, Germany as a prototype but soon was put to mass production for both European and US market. One could get their hands on the first ever MP3 player for a mere $250.
Following MPMan F10 came the F20, but that wasn't the success story most of us remember. Half a year after the F10, Diamond Multimedia release the device often considered to be the first commercial MP3 player, Rio PMP300. Even though it had the same parallel port connection and 32MB Flash memory as the previous F10, the one features that made all the difference was the Smart Media slot which allowed users to increase the storage capacity of their precious Rio. It also had a larger LCD and a much improved UI.
However, even these impressive features were not the main reason many of us remember the Rio case. The device was the first MP3 player to be struck by a RIAA lawsuit. Rio PMP300 was temporarily banned, but only for a ten days, after which Diamond Multimedia sued RIAA for trying to stop the growth of digital music market. After back-and-forth suing the court determined that Rio was not a recording device and that it wasn't affected by the 1992 US Home Recordings Act. In 1999 the companies settled their differences.
Now, in 2008, these kind of gadgets are commonly called iPods.
Topics MP3 & Digital Audio