Rio represents a Phoenix risen from the ashes. As an offshoot of Diamond and a pioneer of PC multimedia products, the company should have benefited from the burgeoning market. However, when the MP3 player market was still young and plagued by high prices and an uncertain distribution strategy, Rio never got off the ground. Since its takeover by Digital Networks North America, it has come back this year with a new range of players which have something for everyone: flash memory, Microdrive and hard disk.
The Rio take on sound is what gives its products their originality. Much attention is paid both to the quality of the sound and, for once, the sound quality the headphones offer. However, the players do not operate as mobile hard drives. In order for the PC to recognize the player, software must first be installed. There is also a separate program for file transfer, and software is required every time MP3 files are shared or stored. All of this serves to deprive the user of a convenient mobile storage option.