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2/25/2005
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Download-Read Digital Radios Within Earshot

DAB chip vendors and technology companies claim the building blocks for the first portable, DAB-based, download-ready music player with an electronic program guide (EPG) are already here. And one U.K. company is preparing to put those pieces together.

DAB chip vendors and technology companies claim the building blocks for the first portable, DAB-based, download-ready music player with an electronic program guide (EPG) are already here. And one U.K. company is preparing to put those pieces together.

"We are uniquely positioned," said Colin Crawford, vice president of the Pure Digital division at Imagination Technologies Ltd. (Kings Langley, England). The company's BUG radio, already on the commercial market, comes with a Secure Digital card to store music downloads and a USB port to download new software such as EPGs. Later this year, Imagination Technologies will release its Pocket DAB 2000 radio. Driven by Frontier Silicon's Chorus chip, it is believed to be an EPG-ready system.

Not likely to be available in first-generation radios, however, is support for multiple digital rights management systems from the cellular, MP3 and PC worlds. The horsepower and memory required could be too costly in this price-sensitive sector, said Rutton Ruttonsha, vice president and general manager for personal entertainment at Philips Semiconductors.

Ruttonsha predicted the USB On-the-Go mobile specification would accelerate the adoption of portable audio players this year. On-the-Go makes it possible to connect one portable device with another for file sharing, without using a PC as an intermediary.

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