AV Peripherals and Systems Guide

Enjoying a Decade of Portable Entertainment

Enjoying a Decade of Portable Entertainment

Timeline: 1998


  • The truth is, portable audio devices have been in existence since the early 1970s thanks to the introduction of the Walkman series by Sony back then. From cassette tapes, compact discs, mini discs and onward to the digital era, it was a time of change for the portable entertainment scene. Just a year before 1998, the first digital audio player (DAP) was created not by the current major players such as Sony, Apple or Creative, but by a South Korean company by the name of SaeHan Information Systems. Introducing its first DAP as the MPMan (Ok, no points there for the "originality" of its branding), Eiger Labs subsequently acquired the license and by 1998, the Eiger Labs MPMan F10 was commercially available to the consumers.

  • In that same year, another company took on the DAP approach and introduced another choice for consumers looking for a portable audio player, and once again, it was not from the big boys of today, but from Diamond Multimedia in the form of its Diamond Rio PMP300 . Though just slightly later than the MPMan, the Rio PMP300 was the centre of attention not for its feature, but the legal ramifications due to the action by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in its move to block its production. This was the incident that brought much media attention to the legalities of digital audio during the online sharing boom. Needless to say, RIAA lost the case, and the golden age of digital audio began.