MP3 Players, An Introduction

By David Morris

It's easy to enjoy music with a digital MP3 player, or MP4 player as they are sometimes called. With a shuffle function you can listen to your songs in a random order, and fit your whole music library on a pocket sized player. Have you ever wondered where your music is stored?

The first iPods, which made MP3 players popular worldwide, had inbuilt hard drive to store music. Hard drives give an MP3 player lots of memory to store files. For example both Apple and Archos have MP3 players with hard drives that have 160GB capacity. MP3 players that use hard drives are much heavier, more bulky and also use more energy than those that don't.

Newer MP3 players use flash memory, in fact almost all MP3 players made now are fitted with internal flash memory. They can often hold an additional SD memory card to increase the overall player storage capacity.

There are some important advantages to using flash memory in MP3 players, which have benefited both manufactures and consumers. Flash memory is cheaper, lighter, and smaller than a hard drive, they also use less power, which leads to better battery life; and this means that flash based MP3 players can be much smaller and cheaper than hard drive based models.

Flash memory does have it's constraints. Mainly that that the memory capacity is much less than a hard drive. Flash memory usually comes in 8GB and 16GB sizes, which is much smaller than a 160GB player from Apple. Also, additional flash memory cards to add to your MP3 player can be expensive.

MP3 players can do more than just play music. Most of them have LCD color displays ranging from a very small 1.8 inch to much larger 4.3 inch or 5 inch,. ONDA and Archos even produce MP3 players that have a 7 inch screen. This has changed the scope of MP3 players from just listing to music, to being able to watch videos too. While watching feature film on small screen may be a strain on the eyes, the larger screens are ideal. - 33374

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