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Flash Memory Mp3 Players - Flash Memory in Mp3 Players

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There’s little question that Western society is more mobile than ever. Nearly one-fourth of workers claim that they do work in the car on the way to the office every morning, and business traveling is a regular part of almost any industry. Cellphones and laptops mean that a person can be on the go and still retain the ability to work and to be entertained. Consumers expect that their music collection be mobile as well, and mp3 players with flash memory are quickly becoming standard electronic gear for everyone.

Mp3 compression has been the de facto standard format for digital music players for almost a decade. There are two primary choices when it comes to portable mp3 storage and use. Devices that use traditional hard drives are still very popular, and these use the same technology as in a typical desktop computer. A platter-like storage medium spins rapidly, and a moving head moves across the platter and reads the data in the same way that a record needle moves across a spinning record or a CD laser reads a spinning disk. Because this is the older of the two options, spinning drives are typically cheaper and offer more storage space than their counterparts.

However, many newer mp3 players use flash memory instead of the traditional hard drive, which offers several advantage over normal platter-style drives. Flash memory is classified as a solid state technology, which means that it has no moving parts. This is very important for devices that are mobile and need to be shock resistant, as bumps and tremors can cause spinning drives to skip or become damaged. Because they don’t have to wait for the drive to spin up, solid state drives have faster access times and lower latencies. Solid state drives are also quieter than spinning drives, and run quite a bit cooler. Flash memory does not require power to retain data, so the data is not as volatile as on a standard drive. Additionally, this also helps batteries to last much longer in flash drives. Flash drives are also much smaller than standard drives, which makes them even more attractive for mobile devices.

Because of how flash memory is stored and erased, flash drives are particularly applicable to devices that require deletion of large blocks of data. Hard drives erase data byte by byte, whereas flash drives erase data by blocks. This means that removing large files such as music or video is much faster on flash drives. However, mp3 players with flash memory do have more limited store-erase cycles than spinning drives. Typically, they are guaranteed for up to one hundred thousand erasures and reprograms. After that, the intergrity of the stored data can begin to break down. Recently released solid-state drive manufacturers such as Micron Technology and Sun Microsystems have claimed integrity up to one million cycles, which put them close to standard hard-drive warranties. Hard drives still give more space for less money than flash drives, but this too is changing rapidly.

Almost all newer mp3 players use flash memory drives, with the notable exception of high-end iPods. When selecting an mp3 player, make sure to look for one with extra features. Most flash mp3 players now come with additional capabilities, including FM radios, stopwatches, armbands, and audio or video recording capabilities. These features are typically available for little or no additional cost, and can greatly increase the enjoyment and functionality of the player. Also, make sure that the player is compatible with iTunes. While simple mp3 file management is available, iTunes is still the industry leader in supply and management of personal music collections.

Because flash memory formats are universal, most mp3 players can also double as a portable storage drive for easy transfer. For instance, pictures taken with a player’s camera can easily be transferred to a computer without additional software or hardware, often by simply removing the memory stick from the player and inserting it into the computer.

Though there are still hard drive based mp3 players available, the price of solid state drives continues to drop and storage capacity continues to increase, and it is very likely that all mp3 players will use flash memory in the near future.

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