HP already had an iPod of sorts | iLounge News

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HP already had an iPod of sorts

“Back in 1999, researchers at Compaq designed a 30 Gbyte portable music player that weighed 9.5 ounces, could fit in your pocket and had 10 hours of battery life. The Personal Jukebox - aka PJB - went on sale for more than $500, and Compaq received a handy patent for its work.

But the PJB is not all that interesting in and of itself. Plenty of companies were busy working on their own music players at the time. The demand for such devices was pretty clear, as consumers rushed to organize their music on PCs and wanted a way to carry the tunes around. [...]

The only explanation for HP’s iPod lust is that it was the easy way out - the road least invented. [...]

HP’s decision to pick up Apple product points to nothing less than a failure of the company to capitalize on its own invention. In addition, it shows HP’s unmatched readiness to ignore in-house IP at the very moment a fledgling market looks promising.”

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Comments

1

dude - ur such an ***hole -  perhaps we should look at Apple as a failure as well.  they did invent the Newton - but Palm took off with it.  oh lets not forget the success of the Hp/COMPAQ Ipaqs -  this is another pointless article to stir up bad blood with HP -  WHY CANT WE ALL GET ALONG?!!!

Posted by gabe on January 19, 2004 at 9:23 PM (PDT)

2

Make love (and iPods); not war.

Posted by dethbrakr in Tacoma, WA on January 19, 2004 at 10:29 PM (PDT)

3

Having worked at HP and seen the level of creativity of their design teams - one PC designer even had pictures of Macs on the wall for inspiration - I can’t believe the assertions being made in this article. HP may have certain strengths but these definitely do not lie in innovative design. The same could be said of all the big US PC manufacturers. As far as I’m concerned, the “HP invent” slogan was designed to make HP appear to be a great innovator, while it is anything but. When that came in, it certainly caused a few chuckles among the more cynical members of the the HP workforce. A tried and tested spin technique: say the opposite of what’s going on and say it often enough, and people might start believing it! HP: a design-led company! Don’t make me laugh!

Posted by colin on January 20, 2004 at 4:30 AM (PDT)

4

You can actually buy that ugly contraption here:

http://www.pjbox.com/

Posted by Atomic Bomb in Mid-Atlantic on January 20, 2004 at 5:00 AM (PDT)

5

Umm, no, you can’t. Click through and read where it says “product not available, new model coming soon.”

Posted by Pete LaV on January 20, 2004 at 5:25 AM (PDT)

6

Wow! I can’t believe somebody actually tried to buy one.

Posted by Atomic Bomb in Mid-Atlantic on January 20, 2004 at 5:29 AM (PDT)

7

I currently own a 40Gig PJB.  As far as I know it was the first one out there and I have had mine for years.  You can take out and replace the harddrive (though 80Gigs is the max and can cause some probs.)  You can also take out and replace the battery…hmmm, can’t do that with the ipod!
All in all a great device!

Posted by smackdab on January 20, 2004 at 12:33 PM (PDT)

8

I think HP is wisely trying to ride in Apple’s Wave.  No other MP3 player has the recognition that the iPod has.  People will buy the HiPod and it will be a success for HP not to mention the entire joint venture is positive for Apple as well.  As far as the PJB is concerned, as SJ said, “They just don’t get it”.  It’s not enough to slap a 40GB HD into a small case, there is the interface, which Apple has down, seamless software integration, and lets not for get the all important look and feel, which Apple just has a nack for.  I am worried about how things will fair when M$ gets into the market, not b/c they offer a better product, b/c they never do, but because they can totally WalMart iTunes and b/c they will definately bundle their WMP with the OS, furtunately that won’t be until 200X, hehe.  I am less worried about it now that HP will bundle iTunes on their Machines and that AOL is using iTunes.  One other thing I think Apple should be doing is mass mailings like AOL does, get the software into everyones hands with a really big four letter word on it, FREE!!!

Posted by kaioslider on January 20, 2004 at 2:07 PM (PDT)

9

You’ve got to put it into perspective - at the time the PJB was designed, the iPod was a twinkle in PortalPlayer’s eye and the cutting edge of sleek was the Archos and Zen. Even then I remember people criticising the PJB for being so damn bulky compared with the Zen. All these players were by modern standards big and ugly, but cheap, and used regular AAa and notebook hard drives.

Apple demonstrated that people would pay a premium for integrated, semi-replacable Li-On batteries and miniature drives.

It’s evolution - it was easy to see 6 months ago when Rio and Creative brought out their 1” drive players that Apple would have to again shrink the iPod to match - and this became the mini iPod. Don’t knock the PJB - it was a necessary precursor to the iPod.

In fact, as a result of the PJB, HP owns the patent for read-ahead buffering to reduce power consumption, which forms a large part of the attractiveness of the PortalPlayer’s chipset and accounts for the iPod’s performance. That was also why the PDJ had, for the time, a large 12MB RAM cache while other players made do with 1 or 2MB.

So for every PortalPlayer-reference design sold (which includes iPods) I think it’s likely that HP are getting a license fee. Look at the system below, Compaq filed for it in early 1999 from work done in 1997 and 1998:
———————-
Low power system and method for playing compressed audio data


Abstract
A portable audio player stores a large amount of compressed audio data on an internal disk drive, and loads a portion of this into an internal random access memory (RAM) which requires less power and less time to access. The audio player plays the data stored in RAM and monitors the amount of unplayed data. When the amount of unplayed data falls below a threshold, additional data is copied from the disk drive into RAM. Because the time necessary to copy a block of data from the disk drive to RAM is much less than the amount of time it takes to play the same block of audio data from RAM, this approach minimizes the amount of time that the disk drive must be operated, and thus minimizes the amount of power consumed by the system.

Posted by perspective on January 20, 2004 at 3:33 PM (PDT)

10

And the PortalPlayer public relations department has joined the discussion. It was bound to happen… seems to happen quite frequently on this site.

Posted by Atomic Bomb in Mid-Atlantic on January 20, 2004 at 5:41 PM (PDT)

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