As Virgin Electronics quits the market, Samsung joins Sony, Creative, iRiver and others in a bid to put Apple's iPod into second position in the digital music player market.

Samsung yesterday declared its aim to become the, "number one MP3 maker by 2007". The company also took the wraps off six new music players it aims to release within the first half of 2005.

It hopes to triple its music player sales this year (to five million units) in its attempt to dethrone the secretive market leader, Apple Computer.

The company aims to develop multifunction music players that integrate photo, movie, music video and gaming features, too.

The head of Samsung's MP3 unit Ahn Tai Ho told Bloomberg: "MP3s are basically one of the first things that young people buy nowadays when they have the money. This is the year we're really getting serious in MP3.''