The Pocket Concert represents Intel's foray into the portable digital music player market. This adds to Intel's line of PC cameras, the Intel Play line of PC-enhanced toys, the Intel Wireless Series family of PC peripherals and the Intel AnyPoint Home Network.
With the official launch in February 2001, the Pocket Concert has twice the built-in flash memory of other players in the $300 price range. The 128Mb memory will give you up to four hours of music or 20 hours of spoken-word recording time. If you like to use the highest quality 44.1kHz/128kbps MP3, you'll get two full hours.
With an aluminum case, weighing less than four ounces, and powered by just two AAA batteries, the Concert will run for ten hours at a nominal listening volume. But in response to consumers' requests for louder headphones, Intel has fitted the unit with an 11mW headphone amplifier for clear, loud sound with very low noise and distortion. That's more than enough to Rock the neodymium drivers in the included behind-the-neck "neckphones."
The player is SDMI-ready (Secure Digital Music Initiative) and supports both MP3 and the increasingly popular Windows Media music formats for now but is re-programmable, permitting compatibility with future music file formats and music purchased over the Internet. Audio is transferred from your PC into the unit by way of a USB cable but there is no way to copy audio files back into another player or PC. Furthermore, there is no Smart Media card slot like in some other units for adding to or replacing memory "on the go." You can get music out in analog form using the optional stereo dock, part of the optional Audio Accessory Group that includes two long-life NiMH rechargeable batteries, an AC power cord, cables with RCA plugs to link the dock to your home stereo, a "Y" adapter cable for using mini-plug multimedia speakers, a carrying case, and car adapter.
The Pocket Concert uses a single scrolling wheel, common transport buttons and both a Set and Mode button to navigate around your playlist and songs files. If you get tired of your memory's contents, there is a built-in FM radio with ten memory preset locations. The back-lit LCD display shows track list, titles, artist, player status and FM radio frequency.
The Pocket Concert comes with Audio Manager: a software program that provides quick and easy way to access and transfer digital audio files from the PC to the player. You also get the ever popular MusicMatch Jukebox Plus version: all the software you'll need to play, record and organize digital music files. The Intel Pocket Concert Audio Player is priced at $299.99 while the Intel Audio Accessory Kit costs $59.99. Buy it all together, and the price is $349.99. More information is available at: www.intel.com/home/audio