A dual-branded Samsung-Napster hard disk drive-based MP3 player received approval from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for US use on Monday.
The device is expected to debut later this year, coinciding with the launch of Roxio's Napster 2.0 digital music distribution service. The service will allow music fans to purchase and download music from a catalogue of 500,000 songs, according to Roxio.
The strategy is strikingly similar to Apple's approach to the digital music market. Apple offers the iTunes Music Store and its own hard drive-based MP3 player, the iPod.
The FCC has published a user manual for the Napster/Samsung product. This reveals that the device carries a 20GB hard drive and links to a computer using USB. It measures 108-x-70-x-20mm and weighs 60g. It supports MP3 and Windows Media Audio files and carries an FM radio.
UK users may have to wait a while to get their hands on the product – it also contains an FM transmitter, similar to Griffin Technology's iTrip. The iTrip is not available in Europe, as it contravenes UK radiocommunications laws.
The device holds a rechargeable battery, good for ten hours’ use and has a built in recording function that can be used to record from the built-in FM radio or an external device, such as a CD player, to an MP3 file, the manual says.