Evolution of the MP3 Player

Portable digital music players have evolved through the years, from hulking $800 devices to tiny $60 iPod Shuffles.

Though it seems as if the iPod has been around forever, the device is actually only eight years old as of last week. Portable digital music players in general aren't much older, as the first clunky, hard-to-use, and expensive ones showed up in 1998. It's easy to forget that, prior to today's video-enabled iPod Nano and sleek Zune HD, state-of-the-art MP3 players were bulky and pricey devices with short battery lives, frustrating copy-protection schemes, and bad user interfaces.

In this slideshow we'll look back at some of the landmark devices and features in the evolution of the portable MP3 player, over the past decade.

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Republished with permission from PC World (view original version)

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