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RCA Chases Apple

Techstination feature for Thursday, August 4, 2005

RCA chases Apple. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Five years ago, before iPods were even a glint in Apple's eye, RCA was making Lyra digital music players. Like lots of other companies, Thomson's RCA unit has watched Apple pass it by and dominate the market. But it is still battling. Rich Phipps is the company's general manager of audio/video business development..

"Well Apple's obviously a very aggressive competitor. The main difference is that our devices support a variety of services from different download sites. They're more flexible in terms of being able to work as both mass storage devices and devices that can support the subscription services. And there's differences in user interface and industrial design. And these are the areas that we compete in."

Among the latest devices is the Lyra RD2765. It's a slim 5 gigabyte model with a 1 and a half inch color screen that can display photos as well. You can find it for about 200 dollars. A less expensive model, without a color screen, is being sold exclusively through Wal-Mart. And while there's no argument about Apple's dominance of the digital music player business, Phipps says...

"We would still categorize this as the early stages. So we would say there's still a lot of growth here as there are increasingly other sources of content that don't rely necessarily on the PC."

For instance, RCA has just announced a bookshelf audio system that transfers music from CDs to a built in flash memory MP3 player, without the need for a PC. The price under 180 dollars. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.