The Diamond RioThe Diamond Rio was about the size of a deck of cards and also had 32 MB of internal storage and an expansion slot. The Rio is often touted as the first Mp3 player because it became much more well know than the MPMan because of a large public lawsuit by the RIAA.
While people were getting accustomed to the thought of uploading songs from their computers and listening to music from a flash based drive, an engineer named Tony Fadell had other plans.
Fadell's plan was a small hard drive based music system that was linked to a content delivery system for legal downloads. In 2000 he pitched his idea to Real Networks. He thought this would be a perfect fit since they already had Real's premium audio network in place. Real turned him down. Phillips turned him down also.
Apple Sees An Opportunity
Becoming discouraged Fadell pitched his plan to Apple. Fadell wasn't aware that Apple has purchased Soundjam MP, a content delivery system, prior to his pitch. Apple was enthusiastic about the product and gave him a development team.
He only had a year to develop the prototype, so he teamed with a company called Portal Player, to develop the first iPod. In October of 2001 Apple introduced the first iPod, which had a 5 GB hard drive and a scroll wheel with buttons.
The rest is history. Apple soon began improving on its product, adding more memory and getting rid of the buttons on the scroll wheel. The iTunes music store was introduced. Then the mini, the nano, the shuffle, and eventually they went back to the flash based drives that Apple had originally shunned.
iPhone and Beyond
After the release of the iPhone the iPod Touch was introduced. Today's iPods can be used as game players, video cameras, eBook readers, you name it. In one decade mp3 players have gone from bulky early adopter fringe devices, to main stream household items. Most people own at least one, and usually more than one.
Options available today are endless. If you are interested in a device that does everything. You will find one to fit your needs. If you are interested in watching movies and TV, on your mp3 player, the Zune HD can be a great choice.
If you want a device that does everything, the iPod Touch is the original winner, in this class. Touch screens are not limited to iPods either. Even Sony has an X-Series Walkman that has a touch screen, and is great for viewing movies. It also has FM radio and will cache your songs similar to the way a DVR caches.
Something For Everyone
If you are in the market for an mp3 player read some reviews and find out what best suits your individual needs. You can find many reviews online such as the best top 10 mp3 players. Other big players in the game are iRiver, Archos, Cowon, Creative, SanDisk, and Coby. It has been interesting to watch the Mp3 player evolution. It will be even more interesting to see what the future brings.