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Digital Audio in Your Pocket

Techstination feature for Wednesday, January 13, 1999

Digital Audio in your pocket. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bootcamp, a report on computers and technology. By now you may have heard about the popularity of what are called MP3 music files. They are compressed versions of music from regular CDs that you can play back on PCs or on small pocketsized players like the Rio from Diamond Multimedia. Now a company called Audible is poised to make its collection of audio books and subscription content available on MP3. Audible President Andy Huffman says there will also soon be an Audible player available for handheld WindowsCE devices. The content is downloaded from the web site...

"When we first launched the service we had maybe a thousand titles and a few thousand hours and now we have between six and seven thousand titles and more than 16 thousand hours."

Besides books, Audible has audio versions of the Wall Street Journal... updated several times a day. Until now, users had to download files to Audible's MobilePlayer to carry them along. It stores up to two hours. There's a brand new MobilePlayer Plus that holds up to seven hours. But the MP3 and WindowsCE announcements position Audible as the premier provider of non-music digital audio. And the digital versions are much less expensive than tapes. (sound)The price for all 21 and a half hours of Stephen King's Bag of Bones for instance is 18 dollars.