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Toys

New Philips eXpanium Will Use 3" CDs 318

SpunOne writes: "Phillips is gearing up to release their new eXpanium mp3 player. Unlike most players in the past that use proprietary storage technology, Phillips is turning to the use of those cute little 3 inch CDs that have been around forever, but never really used for much. Apparently most existing CD burners can already write to them, and the rest can do so with an adapter. Phillips even has a beta test available if you're interested in giving it a try." If you should get into the beta group (50 people), why not write up a report for us on this little device? If it only played .ogg files, I would try to pre-order from somewhere.
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New Phillips eXpanium Will Use 3" CDs

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  • I have a first edition Phillips Expanium mp3 player, and I must say, Phillips really seemed to be rushing this baby to market. Immediately, I knew this device was constructed in poor quality. The sound coming out of it is pretty bad, even for mp3 standards. It is slow to read the CD-Rs, taking approx. 20 sec before any music comes out of it. Even after the initial reading, it still takes 5-10 seconds when changeing tracks. Browsing through 120 or so tunes is almost out of the question, unless you happen to memorize the track position of all your favorites. It supports directories as albums, which is nice, but I wish they had a higher-end model. It'd be nice if they improved sound controls (equalizer anyone?) and/or made an insertable car player model! Still, despite it sound performance and overall cheapness, it is much more convenient carrying one CD-R than carrying 10 Red Book CDs.
  • i bought a mess of those for a marketing campaign. The unfortuanate thing is that they dont make stickers for them yet, so i just use them for when im in a hurry and want like 5 songs, or a real small bunch of data. They work great in everything but my old 2x cd writer. The only problem here is that I wanted an MP3 player because it is skip resistant...plus now were back to size restraints due to physical media. Unless its really cheap, i'm just not interested...
  • I'm really stunned that the concept of a Data-MD never caught on. (Actually, I'm surprised that MD never really caught on in the US, a fight that the record companies won). As far as I know, no one has made one. It strikes me as a really useful data storage device, which, theoretically would hold in the 500MB range. The media is cheap, small and rewriteable. Why hasn't anyone developed and marketed this?
  • Size matters.

    I like my MP3-CD player because of how much music I can fit onto a disk, and because it's easy to switch what I'm listening to without having to have a computer around to re-download music to a memory-based MP3 player.

    But try bringing one of those to the gym. most of the aerobic machines have drink-holders in them, but a full-sized CD player won't easily fit in them. This might be a good compromise when you want the benefits of CD storage (165 MB is still more than 32 or 64!) but a much smaller size (not only for the gym, but for carrying in pockets, etc.

    To me, it looks like the best of both worlds.

  • Freecom has one of these also. So it isn't like this is completely new or anything... But the Philips one may have better audio quality.

    http://www.freecom.com [freecom.com]

  • The dimensions of a minidisc is 7cm x 6.75cm x 0.5cm and holds ~160mb of data.

    Plus, minidiscs have a hard plastic case with locking shutter door so they won't get scratched.
  • I don't see any major reasons for it to catch on over conventional cd based mp3 players, which could potentially have less compatibility problems...
  • by Futurepower(tm) ( 228467 ) <M_Jennings @ not ... futurepower.org> on Thursday August 16, 2001 @06:08PM (#2115950) Homepage

    3 inch CDs = 185 Megabytes.
    • Bad Math (Score:3, Funny)

      by jawad ( 15611 )
      Being Slashdot, I'm quite disappointed that no one saw the obvious mathematical glitch in this statement. A 3" CD should be quite a bit more than 185MB, because a 5" CD is 650MB. 3" being 60% of 5", no less than 390MB should be expected. But the pigs creating this "media" have diliberately hampered the storage capacity of this media.

      Why?

      Obviously, it's because this media is going to be deluged with copyright efforts that make the uncrackable SDMI codec seem to be the equivalent of the 31337 "Rot-13" encryption.

      We should be wary of this media, for any media that requires over 200MB of encryption shall be dangerous to our liberty!
      • Being Slashdot, I'm quite disappointed that no one saw the obvious mathematical glitch in this statement. A 3" CD should be quite a bit more than 185MB, because a 5" CD is 650MB. 3" being 60% of 5", no less than 390MB should be expected. But the pigs creating this "media" have diliberately hampered the storage capacity of this media.

        Actually, a standard CD is roughly 4 3/4 inches. Thus, the uncrackable copy prevention technology requires about an additional 20 megabytes of space. Perhaps an encoded speech from Jack Valenti?

      • Nice try, but the storage capacity of CDs is tied to the surface area, not the diameter.. Now try to remember that 'pi r squared' thing from high school, and do the math again..
      • yah, but while 3" might be 60% of 5", we are dealing w/a circle right? the area of a circle is pi x r ^ 2 if i rember my last gemotry class right, which explains why they have so much less data space.
      • That's wrong.

        If I burn a folder of MP3s on a CD myself, using linux, then how could it have extra copy protection?

        Also, if you take the data bits and switched them from a disk into a line of data, the larger CD will beable to hold a lot more. or have a lot larger line.. A ring of data at 6" should hold twice as much info then a ring at 3". So that's why a 6" CD holds alot more.

  • Cause the testers keep one if I recall...I signed up 4 days ago.
  • by plastik55 ( 218435 ) on Thursday August 16, 2001 @06:42PM (#2116471) Homepage
    These CDs are 3 inches wide, hold around 180 megabytes, cost $2 each for non-rewritable blanks, and the player will be very sensitive to skipping from external forces like any CD player.

    Whereas a MiniDisc is 2.5" wide, holds 256 MB, costs $2 each for a rewritable blank disk, the player is much less sesceptible to skipping, and uses ATRAC2, which at 256Kbps is generally regarded to be superior to mp3 at the same bit rate,

    So why bother with this mutant mp3-cd player? It won't even play my CDs.

    • Get with the program, almost all decent CD players have skip protection. Philips says this one has 100 seconds [philips.com] of skip protection on the specs page.
    • 1) MD hold less information (~ less music)
      2) MD are harder to record onto
      3) MD will not play in CD-MP3 players
      4) MD players are more expensive
      5) MD do not allow you to control audio quality -vs- bandwidth tradeoff
      • 1) MD hold less information (~ less music)
        Yes, than regular CDs. However, they hold 140M vs the 160M the 3" CDs-- not much difference.

        2) MD are harder to record onto
        Actually, CDs are harder to record to for me. Want to know how hard it is to make an MD? Step 1: insert CD into deck; Step 2 insert CD into deck; Step 3 press CD->MD button and wait.

        3) MD will not play in CD-MP3 players
        Yes, and CDs won't play in MD players. So...?

        4) MD players are more expensive
        Which ones? I paid $150 for my RioVolt and $100 for an MD player.

        ) MD do not allow you to control audio quality -vs- bandwidth tradeoff
        Not true any longer as has been mentioned. MDLP allows you to get either 2X or 4X the normal time.
        • To Rambo's (valid) points:

          1) less information / music: I've heard up to 180MB on the little ones. Still not *that* different from a MD, but a slightly larger difference than you say ...

          2) difficulty of recording: It sounds like it's really easy with the particular setup Rambo has. However, for people who use their PC as the everything-media station (and don't have such an MD rig ;)) that's sort of beside the point. For the purposes of this discussion, in deciding between these formats it seems a safer bet that someone has a PC (and has or could cheaply buy a CD-R or CD-RW drive) than a MD recorder, esp. an integrated setup with CD and MD. Someone who has and is happy with MD, though, can continue to be happy without problem though! :)

          3) That MD will not play in CD-MP3 players ... ok, there's a tautology here, true, but (so far, and in the short-term future anyhow) there are a lot more drives in the world that take CDs ... any "modern" computer, for a convenient definition of modern will probably have one. And there are several MP3 CD-playing car decks as well. Yes, there are some MD decks for cars, but Boy are they expensive so far! Sony pretty much ensured the format would be unappealing to a lot of people with the expensive, hard-to-find* media ...

          4) Expense: again, depends on what the baseline is. If someone has a computer made in the last 3 years, it probably has the oomph to make CD-Rs, CD-R drives start in the 50s of dollars right now ... but the real cost is the media anyhow.

          5) Bandwidth control: you can use very narrow bitdepths if you want / need to with MP3 / ogg -- I'd like to have audio books that last a long time without changing disks, don't need much fidelity for that. The choices on MD may be better than they used to be, but not nearly as rich as with the others ... and while it's only tangentially related to bandwidth control, the ability to put many more than 2 channels of audio is part of the .ogg idea, while with MD it's much more limited.

          timothy

          *In NYC, LA or Chicago, easy to find. In small-town America, even middle-sized-town America, you're probably looking at mail order. And your friend down the block won't have a player, unless you're the two guys in town with players ...
  • by Chanc_Gorkon ( 94133 ) <gorkon.gmail@com> on Thursday August 16, 2001 @06:25PM (#2117358)
    650 Meg is worth carrying the bigger player. I signed up to be considered for the beta test cuz I never have done anything like this before, and I would like to add my input. If it's free it will be even better.

    The 3 inch CD only holds about 85 megs more then a Zip disk. I can buy 50 650 Meggers for about half the price of a 3 incher, so why bother? The only thing I can think of is that they'd be nice to drop a 3 incher into a letter or card with a bunch of images on them to send it to grandparents who would like to see pics of their grandchild a bit more. While the size is nice, I don't see why they'd go that way. 2 inches is not much to save! Now if they could build a 3 inch CD player that fits into, or onto a handheld I'd be more interested, but for a portable player, maybe not. If I am selected to beta test, it will still be a neat toy to play with!

  • by Daikiki ( 227620 ) <daikiki@@@wanadoo...nl> on Friday August 17, 2001 @04:11AM (#2118054) Homepage Journal
    It's already been mentioned, but the Freecom Beatman [www.freecom.comtargetnew] has been around for a while now and after my old Rio300 gave up on my I decided to opt for one of these nifty 8cm players instead. One or two others are on the market right now, but I opted for the Beatman because of its wide availability and Freecoms reputation for portable storage devices.
    Whereas my Rio only held 32MB of music, the Beatman will store 185 megs. That translates to over 50 tracks in my case. And as opposed to conventional CD/MP3 players such as the original expanium, the Beatman fits snugly into my coat pocket. True, it's slightly larger than a solid state MP3 player and the battery life is a bit shorter (about half as long on twice as many batteries), but those are the only disadvantages that spring to mind. The media is nice and cheap and you can carry many of the little discs around without much hassle. Skipping isn't too much of a problem. The buffer seems to cope quite well with all but the severest of shocks. But best of all is the price. The beatman, here in NL, costs less than the cheapest MP3 player on the market.
    There are several areas where philips could improve on the beatman design in their new Expanium. For one, I'd like to see a display that reproduces song titles and not only track numbers. It would also be nice to have some form of directory support. I'd like be able to easily select all songs in a single folder, for example. Finally, the beatman is still a bit on the largish side. This seems to be a result of Freecom using a standard reading mechanism as encountered in laptops and made for regular 13cm CDs instead of a custom mechanism. I think Philips could possibly shave several centimeters off the depth of the thing with a custom-built optical subsystem. The original Expanium was somewhat bulky, however. It remains to be seen how small this one will be.
  • I'm wondering... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by or_smth ( 473159 )
    What exactly are the advantages of using these 3" cds over the normal sized ones? They hold less, cost more, may not be directly (though it seems you can get an adapter) supported by your burner and are probably a lot harder to find. I could only find one other device (those digital cameras [sonystyle.com]) that really needs to use these things, so that means much less use of the extra mini cdrs around. Again, what exactly is the point?
    • What exactly are the advantages of using these 3" cds over the normal sized ones?

      I would love to have an mp3 player that could fit in my shirt or pants pocket like a walkman and it would be nice if I could easily flip a new album in like I do with tapes. Ram mp3 players are good but you have to plan ahead of time what you are going to want to listen to. 5+ inches of a media is just very bulky to carry around.
  • I'm looking for a 3" CDROM drive that fits in a floppy drive bay. I'm still trying to shrink computers down smaller and smaller. I only need the CDROM drive in there at all to serve as a rescue disk (and a floppy won't hold enough for what I need).

  • by DragonPup ( 302885 ) on Thursday August 16, 2001 @06:05PM (#2131171)
    But with a width of at least 3 inches, reduced battery life compared to most others(since CDs tend to be power suckers) and 3 inch CDs that are not exactly common in the US to buy, will it take off?

    -Henry
    • You Said:

      But with a width of at least 3 inches, reduced battery life compared to most others(since CDs tend to be power suckers) and 3 inch CDs that are not exactly common in the US to buy, will it take off? -Henry

      You call yourself a geek? When was the last time you were to a computer store? They are everywhere here in the cowtown that is Columbus, OH! While I agree with you it ain't common to BUY them, I see plenty of them rotting on the shelves! :)

  • I will be avoiding this one.

    Think about the advantages an MP3 player can have over a CD player:

    • Higher capacity. Since MP3s are compressed, you can fit a lot more music on the same media. But these discs hold 185MB instead of 650MB, a lot of that advantage is gone. [Actually, their website says "Mb" as in Megabits. I assume that's a typo, since that would suck an awful lot.] With the memory card devices, you at least have Moore's Law telling you there will be higher-capacity cards eventually. That's not true here.
    • Longer battery life. Solid-state MP3 players last a lot longer because they don't have to spin a disc around. (Sorry, no numbers. Anyone?) Not true here; it still spins a disc.
    • Better LCD displays. MP3s can be encoded with the song title, artist, genre, etc. But it looks from their photos like this player doesn't actually show any more info on the LCD display than a standard CD player would.
    • Smaller. This thing is smaller than a CD player, but it's not the smallest MP3 player around.
    • Better skip protection. I've seen people try to jog while carrying CD players. It's really funny to watch; kind of a shuffle. Even with long anti-skip buffers, CD players will eventually run out of stuff to play if it's constantly moving. Solid-state MP3 players won't. But this thing isn't solid-state.
    • More convenient. With the flash memory devices, you can just connect them to your computer with a USB cable and drag stuff over. (Or put the card into your flash drive if you have one, etc.) With this, you have to find and buy an overpriced 3" CD-R and burn your music on it. That assumes you have a burner; a lot of people don't.

    If you want to burn your music on to a CD, get something that takes a full-size CD. Standard CDs are higher-capacity, not much larger, cheaper, and more widely available. Plus, I believe that there are MP3 CD players that can handle standard audio CDs as well, so you have more flexibility.

    If you want something small, get an MP3 player that takes a flash card. They much smaller than this thing, have more battery life, and don't skip.

  • irony? (Score:5, Funny)

    by bokmann ( 323771 ) on Thursday August 16, 2001 @06:20PM (#2131430) Homepage
    Great! SO now I can rip all my CDs and burn them to... smaller cds... seems kinda underwhelming.
  • Well, not really - MPZip MP3 8CM CD Player
    $139
    It's been around for quite some time.

    http://www.easybuy2000.com/store/?cat=mp3%20play er s&subcat=mpZip

    And its 8cm, not 3 inches.

    What can I say, tim-mah!
  • by philgross ( 23409 ) on Thursday August 16, 2001 @06:34PM (#2132872) Homepage
    DVD's have higher density than CDs (I think) and allow dual layers. It seems like a 3" DVD would probably hold more than a full CD. Is a 3" format part of the DVD spec? It seems like you could get the best of both worlds, small media size and good capacity.
    • by technos ( 73414 ) on Thursday August 16, 2001 @06:49PM (#2123232) Homepage Journal
      Full size DVD-R: 4,700 megs
      Full size CD-R: 650 megs
      3 inch CD-R: 180 megs

      A quick ratio gives the result that a 3 inch DVD would hold about 1300 megs, twice the capacity of a full size CD..

    • And how are you going to burn those DVDs? DVD-R drives are still priced out of reach of most people. CD-R has enough market penetration, and is available cheaply enough, to make a portable player a viable product. Adding DVD reading capability would drive up the price of the unit for no benefit to any significant number of people.
      • At Otakon this past weekend I heard about a new Panasonic DVD-R drive that's due out by November that will be only $500 US.

        Ka-Ching! Count me in!

        Jon Acheson
  • This is not news, as there are several of these players out right now. I've been in the market for one for about a month. Supply is very limited as is information, so hopefully Philips (yes, one 'l' not two) device will spur more interest. Check out this [digit-life.com] link for info on the media and players. Unfortunately, most of the ones listed in the article are unavailable or hard to find.

    Personally, I find them better than standard MP3 players because for half the money I get 3 times the storage, plus I can swap out disks easily. These things are actually very available. A computer show never goes by where I don't see them. And the size advantage is nice in some cases. I fly a hang glider and I want something small that I don't have to make extra room for in my harness.

    Now if only it supports a flash ROM so I can write an ogg vorbis [xiph.org] decoder for it.
  • by ryanw ( 131814 ) on Thursday August 16, 2001 @06:09PM (#2134191)
    I bought a cheap $60.00 cd player from Fry's Electronics the other day that plays regular AudioCD's and also can read DATA cd's with MP3's in the root directory. Works great.

    Ryan
  • by Rick the Red ( 307103 ) <Rick.The.Red@ g m a i l . com> on Thursday August 16, 2001 @06:09PM (#2134192) Journal
    Can it play these [cd-romduplication.com]?

  • Ogg support (Score:4, Interesting)

    by norculf ( 146473 ) on Thursday August 16, 2001 @06:08PM (#2139818) Journal
    This is the trouble with Ogg Vorbis. It isn't supported by these things. If they had rewriteable firmware, it would be possible to hack support into them, but as far as I know, not many of them do this.

    I would rather use my CD player anyway. A real CD sounds better anyway. It is also a simple matter to make an expendable copy of a CD so the original isn't in danger of theft or damage.
    • Re:Ogg support (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Hobbex ( 41473 )

      Honestly, I don't think you want players that are updatable (the Philips site says that Rush, their solid state player, is), because you'll never know when they'll try to sneak down the latest User Hostile fuckware with an upgrade, being the slaves of the evil industry that they are (no, they probably wouldn't make a player suddenly stop reading MP3s for some encrypted format, but they could stop reading files with certain watermarks (the SDMI plan)).

      Forget hardware players - they are too easy targets for control by the powers of evil. Liberation lies in software players on generic handhelds - which can play OGG files without having to go begging to some company like Windows users...
      • "being the slaves of the evil industry that they are" they make CD recorders?
      • ummm Just make sure that there is nothing malicious in the upgrade before installing it. I bet that it would show up pretty quick in message boards and the like.

        To upgrade Sonic Blue's Rio Volt, you have to burn a special cd with the upgrade in the root of the disc.
  • Why? (Score:4, Informative)

    by DeadMeat (TM) ( 233768 ) on Thursday August 16, 2001 @06:30PM (#2140197) Homepage
    I'm not sure exactly what advantage this has over other MP3 players, or even over non-MP3 players. Sure, it's small, but so are traditional MP3 players with flash media; plus they don't have the problems that CD players have (tons of moving parts, skipping, delicate laser, media easy to break, etc.), and they're getting close to the 180-something MB a 8 cm disk can store. The media may be a hell of a lot cheaper than flash, but at a 256 kbps encoding rate (IMHO the lowest you can go to get decent sound quality without losing bass or getting artifacts) we're only talking about 100 minutes of music . . . in which case if you're willing to put up with a traditional media-based player you might as well go with a MiniDisc and not worry about compression artifacts at all.

    To me the advantage of CD-based MP3 players has always been that they can store massive amounts of music they can store -- 700 megs (or more if you get more expensive CDs and/or overburn) on a CD that costs pennies. Being able to pop a CD containing 5 to 10 CDs' worth of music into my Rio Volt is the main reason I bought it -- no lugging around more than a couple of CDs, and I can use it in the car without endangering other people on the road by flipping through CDs when I should be driving. By cutting the storage capacity to just over a quarter of that, it's sort of eliminating the point of using CDs. Iomega had the same problems with the HipZip -- no matter how cheap the media is, nobody's willing to put up with the problems brought on by optical or magnetic media unless they get some big storage payoff. (Admittedly, at 40MB the PocketZip disks are significantly smaller, but so are the disks' physical size, and you didn't have to invest in a CD burner if you didn't already own one.)

    That isn't to say I don't wish Philips well with this -- my last (pre-MP3) CD player was a Philips, and it's taken quite a beating and still works as well as the day I bought it. I'm just afraid the market for this sort of thing isn't going to be very warm.

    • Re:Why? (Score:2, Informative)

      by shepd ( 155729 )
      Why mini MP3 CD over MiniDisc?

      a) More time on one disc at the best quality
      b) Better quality. _Especially_ at the same bitrates as ATRAC. www.r3mix.net has the truth.
      c) Open format that plays in your neighbours' PC.
      d) You can play it in a normal MP3 player as well.
      e) Media is cheaper.
      f) Media is more availiable (tell me, does Office Max have MiniDisc yet? They sure have 3" CDRs)
      g) Media is round (ok, this one is stupid :)
      h) MP3 offers you the trade off of more time for less quality. I don't think MiniDisc is so flexible.
      i) MP3 ID3v2 tags are more versatile than what MiniDisc uses (I think)
      j) *not* SDMI compliant
      k) Burns 20x faster (or more) than MiniDisc
      l) No generational re-encoding loss if your library is mostly in MP3 format (like a lot of people)
      m) Compatibility with more of everything out there. Computers, DVD players, MPTrip clones, CellPhones, you name it.
      n) MP3 is new. Minidisc is old. (this is for the people who need the newest gadget all the time)
      o) Player is probably going to be cheaper than a MiniDisc player.
      p) Player is not licensed by one of the biggest money grubbing record companies of all time, Sony.
      q) Player is, however, developed by the company that (jointly with [ugh] Sony, I think) invented CDs.
      r) Discs are readable at 27x if you want to copy then quickly.
      s) All you mini MP3 discs can be backed up onto a large hard drive. From what I know, minidisc cannot be backed up to a hard drive due to SDMI restrictions. I may be wrong on this.
      t) MP3 is for "computer use", so therefore in the US idiotic piracy taxes probably can't be applied (like they do to DAT -- I know that isn't MiniDisc, but you never know what might happen in the future). In Canada, though, that doesn't count as we have piracy taxes on data CDs.

      There's probably more reasons I could come up with but a-t is enough for now.

      Just my opinions.
    • ... in a noisy subway, in the car on a noisy highway, etc. This is not supposed to be a complete stereo system, it's a portable music player, and designed to be used that way. Can you honestly claim you can hear the difference between 256kbps and 128kbps over the noise of your engine and the engines in all the cars around you? Hell, I almost never notice any problems with 128kbps using earphones at the office.
    • Re:Why? (Score:2, Informative)

      a MiniDisc and not worry about compression artifacts at all.

      You know MiniDisc uses a lossy compression standard developed by (I think) Sony called ATRAC, right?

    • but at a 256 kbps encoding rate (IMHO the lowest you can go to get decent sound quality without losing bass or getting artifacts) we're only talking about 100 minutes of music . . .

      I felt the same way, until someone pointed me to r3mix [r3mix.net], where there are many pointers on getting the best possible quality out of lossy compression. Using LAME with the --r3mix flag set, variable bit rate min 112, I can hear no difference from the source media, and I have very good ears. Try it; you'll save a ton of space, and be happier with your sound.

    • And why return to mechanical technologies with lots of fragile moving parts, susceptibility to (albeit massive) shock and dust, and way more current drain?

      --Blair
  • Rip It! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Quazion ( 237706 )
    Quote from Philips Site:

    Play your current CD collection through the PC's CD-writer using simple software to compress the music into MP3 data format and place it on your hard drive ready for compiling. (You can also download legal MP3 music files from the Internet to your hard drive).

    Trust me i can also download Illegal songs to my hard drive....

  • by Lazy Jones ( 8403 ) on Thursday August 16, 2001 @06:28PM (#2143567) Homepage Journal
    Freecom's Beatman mp3 player [212.204.227.171] supports Mini-CD media. What's the big deal with Philips' products? Does slashdot now forward press releases of large (paying?) companies? Please don't...
  • If you should get into the beta group (50 people), why not write up a report for us on this little device? If it only played .ogg files, I would try to pre-order from somewhere.

    Sounds like a great reason to be a beta tester to me! Not only would you get to try the thing out, you'd also be able to give them the feedback that it should play .ogg files. It's quite possible, even likely, that Phillips could add .ogg playing capability with a firmware change. If somebody told them it was a desirable feature, that would greatly increase the chances of it being included.

    IOW, sign up, sign up, sign up.

    [goes to sign up]

  • by geekoid ( 135745 )
    If you can convince the marketing drones at any portable player company that there would be 25000 purchases immeditly upon release if they could also play ogg, it will have a higher likelyhood of getting done. If marketing wants it, they will build it.
  • They worked great, hold about 160mb data with only one catch: they don't work in front-loading CD-ROM drives like the ones you get in iMacs. My fear was that PC manufacturers would follow the iMac lead (like they did with the awful purple clear-plastic everything with a case) and start bundling front-loaders with wintel machines. This would render our disks (and these nifty new mp3 disks) useless.
  • Buy a 50-pack of regular CD's without the casings. Put the stack in a lathe. remove a few inches...
  • i saw an advertisement for this camera [gadgetguru.com] on a bus stop last month and was intrigued. (it's a GadgetGuru.com review: "Sony MVC CD-1000 Digital Camera Uses 3-inch CDs To Store Images".)

    combined with this story, it definitely seems like Philips and Sony had a recent mutual epiphany about portable storage medium efficiency. whether their bets pay off or not- there seems to be a lot of pluses and minuses, it's definitely a renaissance right now for these little 3" critters!
  • by Ryu2 ( 89645 ) on Thursday August 16, 2001 @06:15PM (#2155538) Homepage Journal
    most players in the past that use proprietary storage technology

    Nearly every MP3 player I've seen use standard Compact Flash, Smart Media, or Memory Stick media -- all widely used standards used in everything from digital cameras to PDAs, and hardly proprietary!

    • umm

      The prob with compact flash and smart meida is the formats arent proprietary but the vendors write data in such a way that it is hard to interchange the cards (Sony and Kodak for one example) plus they are expensive (im outside the US)

      Memory Stick is a proprietary format belonging to Sony - as yet i dont believe there has been any other vendor making either a memory stick product or a memory stick - thats as proprietary as you want.

      PS Proprietary is when a tech is one companies only - the amouont of products on the market means very little if the company hasnt made it an open standard.
      • The prob with compact flash and smart meida is the formats arent proprietary but the vendors write data in such a way that it is hard to interchange the cards

        Don't know much about the Memory Stick or Smart Media, but Compact Flash has a simple ATA interface. I know Kodak cameras write to it like a regular disk, and I imagine Sony does as wel, so I don't see how it can be so hard to interchange them.

        Besides, I'm pretty sure that all the CF in the world gets made by SanDisk anyway, and SanDisk sells them to everybody so they can put their own branding on. But I could be wrong...

  • by xeno ( 2667 ) on Thursday August 16, 2001 @07:26PM (#2158181)
    A lot of folks have asked "why?"

    The advantages of a smaller disk include a smaller player (fits in your pocket, unlike the current raft of full-size CD/MP3 players), lower power consumption (it actually does take a lot less energy to spin up a ~40% smaller diameter disk), low-cost media (3" disks usually cost about US$0.55 in lots of 50 and US$1 in lots of 10 or less), requires no new software (!!), and low production cost of the player (since none of this is new technology). Out of about a dozen cd burner I've used, every one supports 3" CDRs, as well as all tray and most slot-loading players.

    This player and two disks will almost get me thru most of the workday without hearing a repeat, I can play the disk in my computer without any hardware-specific software or drivers, and the trivial cost of the media make it quite nice for sneakernet music swapping. Are you going to swap or give away your CF card or MiniDisc? I didn't think so. Who knows, maybe this will bring the cost of 3" CDRWs down.

    Low tech? Yes. But a very nice application of low-tech.

    Jon
  • Picky, Picky ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Thursday August 16, 2001 @07:17PM (#2158390)
    That's Philips [philips.com] with one L -- the two-L version sells petroleum products. The Company is quite touchy on the subject.
  • I have some (Score:4, Informative)

    by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Thursday August 16, 2001 @06:04PM (#2158412) Homepage
    I saw some 3" CD-R's at the electronics store, and I just had to have them, they were so cool-looking. They hold 180Mb, and five of them cost about the same as ten 5-1/4" CD-R's. A year later, they're still sitting there...I haven't found a use for them yet. They sure are neat, though.
    • > I saw some 3" CD-R's [...]
      > [...] same as ten 5-1/4" CD-R's.

      dude, it's 8 and 12 centimeters. The CD
      was developed by Philips in the Netherlands,
      therefore it's metric (like everywhere
      but in the US of A)

    • Ironically, they seem to be the most reliable CDRs around. The manufacturers of the crappy ones, being so focused on making crap CDRs, they aren't getting into this, apparently. OTOH, I've only burned about 30 of them, but they are 100% reliable and the CDROM drives read them at full speed (no slowdowns and timeouts like the crappy ones).

    • I burn off files from my PC ever so often in a sort of pipeline: Internet -- My Documents -- Slow big USB hard drive -- CDr. and I've used the smaller CDs for the last eight volumes.

Veni, Vidi, VISA: I came, I saw, I did a little shopping.

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