CES: SONICblue Launches Rio Riot

Hard drives are turning up everywhere this week, most notably in digital audio devices, which you would expect to be the domain of shock resistant Flash storage. SONICblue's contribution to hard drive mania is its HDD-based portable music player, the Rio Riot. The device is built around a 20GB hard-drive that SONICblue says can hold more than 5,000 songs or 400 CDs worth of digital music. The Rio Riot uses SONICblue's Rio LogicTrack user interface, features a backlit display (240 x160), and includes an integrated FM tuner and rechargeable batteries. The gadget's 16 MB SDRAM buffer stores music in memory and stops the hard drive from spinning during playback to provide up to 12 minutes of electronic skip protection. Rio Riot includes a set of over-the-head Rio headphones and a carrying case that lets you view and access the unit while providing protection. It currently provides MP3 and WMA playback but is upgradeable to other digital standards through software releases. An upgrade to support the Audible spoken audio content service is planned for the near future. The Rio Riot will be priced at $399.95 MSRP and will be available toward the end of February in North America.

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