Dell Debuts Portable Music Player

Dell has introduced the Dell Digital Jukebox — or the Dell DJ — and announced details of a partnership with MusicMatch to provide customers with an easy, legal way to download favorite songs and albums.

As the next step in the company’s overall strategy of moving into other markets — especially consumer electronics and home entertainment — both the Dell DJ hardware and Dell Jukebox software will be available through Dell’s music store tomorrow.

“Carrying around thousands of songs on one small device is a nifty idea, but not if you have to recharge it every few hours,” said John Hamlin, senior vice president and general manager of Dell’s U.S. consumer business. “The Dell DJ packs terrific battery life and tons of features into a small, sleek package for a great price.”

Dell Digital Jukebox

The 7.6-ounce Dell DJ comes with a choice of 15-GB or 20-GB capacities — US$249 and $329, respectively — and features Hitachi’s Travelstar hard drive. A built-in rechargeable lithium-polymer battery provides up to 16 hours of continuous music playback, enough for a round-trip flight from New York to London.

The included USB 2.0 cable connects the device to desktop or notebook computers and can charge the battery in lieu of the standard AC adapter.

A 2-inch backlit LCD display serves up file information while users browse with a front-mounted scroll barrel for one-handed operation.

Also Can Back Up Files

“We heard two things loud and clear from consumers when it came to digital music players: Flash memory is too limited, and hard drive players are either too expensive or stripped down to hit attractive price points,” Hamlin said.

“With the Dell DJ, our customers no longer have to choose between what they can afford and what they really want.”

In addition to playback of MP3 and Windows Media Audio (WMA) files, the Dell DJ can serve as a digital voice recorder or a way to back up files from a computer.

Dell Jukebox Software

Meanwhile, Dell’s music store also is offering Dell Jukebox software, which essentially is a Dell-branded interface atop MusicMatch’s well-known jukebox software. The new software package presents a graphical interface designed to help users shuttle music between their computer and Dell DJ.

The software also offers access to MusicMatch’s song library of downloads. This no-subscription service allows users to download their choice of more than 250,000 songs for 99 cents each and most albums for $9.99.

MusicMatch plans to offer more than 500,000 tracks by the end of the year to compete more effectively with Apple’s iTunes music service and the soon-to-be-live Napster 2.0 service.

Convenient and Legal

“Offering consumers a convenient, legal way to purchase music online is important to both Dell and MusicMatch,” said Bob Ohlweiler, MusicMatch senior vice president of business development.

“We’ve developed one of the easiest ways to find and purchase music, and now we’re excited to see it combined with a high-quality portable music player at an incredible value.”

The Dell Jukebox software also enables access to MusicMatch’s radio service and the company’s artist-match feature, which compares customers’ musical tastes to other users’ to recommend new artists.

According to Dell, the new Dell Jukebox software has been tested to work with both the Dell DJ and many other digital music players.

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