LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 16, 1999--Swiss semiconductor company Micronas, the world market leader for MP3 decoders for consumer applications, has introduced a number of new audio equipment concepts based on its MP3 (MPEG Layer 3) MAS 35xx processor family. Applications include MP3-compatible mobile telephones, car radios and a new generation of mobile flash players that come with integrated download security.
Traditionally, to use the MP3 audio standard music tracks have been downloaded from the internet onto personal computers (PCs), then were transferred to different playback devices such as mobile MP3 players. Existing Walkman-like flash players will shortly be joined by a number of other MP3-compatible products made possible by the MAS 35xx processor. These systems include Microdrive systems, MP3 CD players, MP3 players for mobile telephones and audio home servers.
Microdrives are miniature hard disks with 340 megabytes of storage capacity, which can be integrated in a CompactFlash memory card that is only half the size of a matchbox. The drive can easily be integrated into car radios or other portable units and stores over 70 hours of music, eliminating the need for devices like in-car CD changers. The first car radios equipped with Microdrives will be available early next year. Another possible application for microdrives is an in-seat audio system for cars, minibuses and coaches with individual programs, similar to the programmed music used on airplanes.
The MP3 CD player is a conventional audio CD player equipped with a Micronas MP3 chipset, enabling it to also play MP3-coded CDs that hold up to 12 hours of music. The initial design, unveiled by Micronas at CeBIT '99 in Hanover earlier this year, is expected to be on the market by the end of the year.
The MP3 player for mobile telephones is a device that can easily be plugged into the handset so that music can be heard between calls. As calls come in, the caller is automatically connected and the music muted. The unit makes energy-saving and ergonomic use of the rechargeable battery, display and keypad of the mobile telephone. Two manufacturers plan to introduce mobile telephones with MP3 functionality within the next few months.
The audio home server is a small playback unit with a high capacity hard drive (several gigabytes) on which complete personal music collections can be stored in MP3 format and compiled in any desired sequence for playback. This will allow non-PC users to also enjoy MP3 music.
Micronas (SWX:MASN) is an international semiconductor company. Micronas Holding AG is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. Its activities include the development, manufacture and marketing of integrated circuits and sensors for system solutions for multimedia, consumer and automotive electronics. These worldwide activities are coordinated from Freiburg, Germany. Currently the Micronas group employs over 1300 people and has generated over CHF 280 Mil. in sales in 1998. For more information please contact Iris Bahr by phone: +49-761-517-2324, fax: +49-761-517-2622 or e-mail docservice@intermetall. You can also www.micronas.com for more company and product information.