Virgin’s Portable Music Plans

But where do you keep your headphones?Virgin Electronics, a new division of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group have opened new offices and launched a new product: the Virgin Electronics Wearable 128mb MP3 Player.

The US$99 (€80) player isn’t competing with the iPod as it only holds about 40 songs. Instead, it’s going for convenience, size and simplicity.

“When we called it the Wearable 128MB MP3 player, we meant wearable. The product is so small and light it can be worn comfortably around the neck, arm—anywhere. No pockets required.” said Joe Sipher, senior vice president of marketing for Virgin Electronics.

The device doesn’t require a power adaptor – it charges from the USB connection to Mac or PC. The user interface is extremely simple too – two buttons control everything. Virgin’s digital music store is expected to launch later on in the summer, and no doubt there will be interesting tie-ins between the new player and the store.

Virgin Electronics’ second release is a pair of noise-cancelling headphone – you can see where they’re going with this can’t you? The US$40 headphones are amongst the cheapest available, but Virgin are keen to stress that they are high quality devices. No doubt both pieces of equipment will be coming to an in-flight magazine near you soon.

Virgin Electronics have also just moved into new offices in Silicon Valley, upping sticks from New York. Virgin’s new appointments will be filling those nice premises – Greg Woock as CEO (formerly Handspring and Creative Labs) and Joe Sipher was once an exec at Handspring and Palm.

Virgin Electronics

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?