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Microsoft and iPod go head to head

Author: Michelle Pirovich
Thursday, January 8, 2004
With the MP3 market already worth a staggering $US4 billion Apple Computer has come up with a new version of the iPod.

Smaller, cheaper and funkier than its hugely successful counterpart, the iPOd Mini will be priced at $US249 (no price as yet for Australia).

To date, more than 2 million iPods have been sold around the world, with the first 730,000 being sold in a little over two months. To coincide with the iPod sales, iTunes has sold 30 million audio tracks in less than a year.

Over in the Microsoft camp, new details about a line of portable devices that could give the popular iPod an extra measure of competition are expected to be released at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Called Portable Media Centers, these hand held devices will store and play back video, music and photos.

With companies including Samsung Electronics, ViewSonic Corp., iRiver International and Creative Technology working on versions of the devices, the Portable Media Centers will come with built-in hard drives for storing media. A Portable Media Center with a 40-gigabyte hard drive is expected to hold up to 175 hours of video, 10,000 songs or 100,000 pictures, using Windows Media audio and video files.
Microsoft hasn't yet made public its recommended specifications. But analysts familiar with the devices expect the prices to range from about $400 to $700.

The first release is now expected in the second half of this year.

Source: The Age and News Source