An MP3 player is a small electronic device that is designed to play digital music files. They are named after the popular music file format MP3, even though they can usually play other file types. They are sometimes referred to as a portable media player or digital audio player and depending on the specifications they may also be used to view image and video files. Unlike previous portable music players, an MP3 player doesn’t require media (CD or audio tape) and stores the digital music files on a hard drive, memory card or similar internal storage device. The most well known MP3 player is the Apple iPod, which was first released in 2001. However, Apple wasn’t the first to invent this technology.
Who Invented the MP3 player?
The first digital audio player was designed by British scientist Kane Kramer in 1979. He called his invention IXI and the prototype device was only capable of playing 3.5 minutes of audio. It never entered commercial production. It did not use the MP3 file format.
The first company to produce a portable MP3 player was Audio Highway. They announced the Listen Up player in 1996 and it was released the next year. Although it won many awards only 25 of these players were produced.
The first mass-produced MP3 player was the MPMan, which was created in 1997 by South Korean company Saehan Information Systems. It was distributed in the North America market by Eiger Labs and rebranded as the Eiger MPMan.