Dell intros flash-based MP3 player

— 4:57 AM on September 20, 2005

Dell is expanding its MP3 player line to include the DJ Ditty, a flash-based player after the iPod Shuffle's heart. The Ditty improves on the Shuffle by including an 11x26mm LCD screen and FM tuner, but is only available with 512MB of storage. 512MB is a little pokey for a flash-based MP3 player, especially since Shuffle-sized players have offered up to 1GB for some time. And then there's the new iPod nano, which costs twice Dell's $99 asking price for the Ditty, but offers four times the storage, a much larger color screen, and undeniable sex appeal.

With the DJ Ditty only sporting 512MB of memory, it's a little odd to see Dell's product page claim that the player can hold 220 songs. You have to read the fine print to clarify that those songs are four-minute 64kbps WMAs. Creative also uses four-minute 64kbps WMAs to describe the capacity of its Zen Nano, but actually goes so far as to claim that you can squeeze 250 of them onto a 512MB player. Of course, that's nothing compared to Sony's NW-E405, which crams a stunning 345 songs into just 512MB. Those are 345 ATRAC tracks at only 48kbps, though. At least Apple doesn't monkey around when it comes to advertising how many songs its audio players can accommodate. iPod song capacity is measured in 128kbps AAC, which seems far more reasonable than anything at 64kbps or less.

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