C|NET meldt dat S3 grote plannen heeft met MP3 toepassingen in haar producten. Zo kunnen consumenten binnenkort genieten van MP3 music files in bijvoorbeeld telefooncellen en organizers, aldus S3 CEO Ken Potasher. Sinds VIA de graphics divisie van S3 heeft overgekocht focust het bedrijf zich vooral op MP3 en internet gadgets.
The company is entering a highly competitive market, however. Consumer electronics giant Sony has released a new version of its Walkman and a minuscule device dubbed "Music Clip" for playing MP3s. Creative Labs and other Asian manufacturers specializing in inexpensive electronics goods are producing cheap MP3 players. And as with personal computers, these devices will become more powerful as well as less expensive as the technology improves.
"MP3 is one of those things where the first generation of devices are single function. Once you see that it makes sense, you can combine MP3 functionality almost for free," said Linley Gwennap, principal at the Linley Group. "A standalone MP3 player probably doesn't make a lot of sense in the long run."
To remain ahead of the competition, Potasher says several products are in the works. A stereo-like player dubbed the RioRack will allow consumers to download MP3 files directly from the Internet for playback. The device is expected to hit the market in the next two months. Also, S3 is building digital music players for cars. A proliferation of basic Rio players, marketed in conjunction with other corporate partners, can also be expected.
Under these deals, a company such as Hewlett-Packard or Fidelity Investments would sell MP3 players co-branded with S3. In turn, S3 would "get a substantial cut" of customer revenues.
"We've signed some strategic partners over the last six months, " Potasher said.