updated 12:10 pm EDT, Thu October 19, 2006
RCA Lyra EH308 and EM2802
After a relatively quiet interval, RCA has developed two new music players that compete directly in the mid-range market currently led by the iPod nano. As revealed by postings at the German online store CyberPort, updated Lyra players have been introduced under the Thompson brand that put the American company back into competition. Of these, the EM2802 (pictured) bears the closest resemblance to Apple's compact players. Holding 2GB of flash memory, the device has a 1.5-inch color OLED screen (versus the nano's LCD) and supports MPEG-4 video beyond the more conventional MP3 and WMA audio formats. The German retailer has no estimated ship date but is selling the EM2802 for 150 Euros after tax, which translates to a sub-$150 price for a future American release. Click through for details of the 8GB EH308.
RCA has taken a different approach to higher capacities with its EH308 model. Instead of using costly flash, RCA has opted to lower prices by using a one-inch 8GB hard drive such as those previously found in the iPod mini. The EH308 similarly gains a more readable 1.8-inch screen and is directly compatible with both MacOS X and Windows. This upgraded model is expected to ship for 200 Euros and will likely be available for $200 in its native US.