EE Times: Grass-roots designs spawn controversial wave of Web audio players — Engineers drive MP3 craze

“Every once in a while, an entirely new product category springs
up while the industry isn’t watching. It’s happening right now,
riding the coattails of the MPEG-1, Level 3 audio standard, or

“In large part, the gear is coming not from big corporations but
from engineers like Hugo Fiennes, a 27-year-old Englishman who has
turned his Internet savvy and enthusiasm for listening to music in
his Mazda MX5 sports car into a startup company…”

Fiennes’ “empeg-car” is just one of a clutch of portable,
in-home and in-car MP3 players being worked on…”

“Fiennes has become technical director of Empeg Ltd., formed
here last year as a result of underground Internet enthusiasm for
his in-car Linux computer running an MP3 digital-audio decoder in
software, which Fiennes built as a personal project.”

“When it started it wasn’t a commercial thing at all,” Fiennes
said. “I was looking at CD autochangers for my car and I thought
that at the price I might as well have an MP3 player.”