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Sony Begins Shipping Battery-operated, Portable CD-RW Drive

New Digital Relay Drive Doubles as a Stand-alone CD Player

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 2, 2001--Sony Electronics today announced it has begun shipping its first CD-RW drive that can also perform as a stand-alone CD player. The new Digital Relay(TM) drive (model CRX10U/A2) is a portable, battery-operated CD-RW drive, incorporating a USB interface for plug-and-play connectivity.

This stylish device is the first member of Sony's new Digital Relay family of computer peripheral products with integrated AV functionality. When attached to a computer, the Digital Relay drive enables users to perform common CD-RW drive recording tasks such as backing up their system, recording digital images and creating original music CDs. When detached from the computer, the drive functions as a CD player that can also playback CDs with MP3 files, allowing up to 11 hours of music to be stored on a single CD.

The Digital Relay drive has already garnered critical acclaim, including "Editor's Choice" awards from both CNET and Popular Mechanics, along with a "WinList" award from

"Sony has been developing integrated AV/IT products that offer greater connectivity and flexibility," said Toshi Naito, vice president of data storage for Sony Electronics' Component Company. "The Digital Relay drive is designed to provide active consumers and business professionals with the benefits of three products combined in one portable device."

"With wildly popular products like iBook(TM) and iMac®, the Mac® platform provides incredible business opportunities for developers to create the latest and most exciting consumer products," said Clent Richardson, Apple Computer's vice president for worldwide developer relations. "Mac users can store compressed QuickTime(TM) files and iMovies(TM), back up data, write CD-RWs and create portable music collections with Digital Relay, which is another example of Sony's ability to create innovative new devices for the Mac community."

The drive comes complete with all the necessary accessories and a suite of software to begin recording out of the box.

Key Features:

  • Universal Serial Bus (USB) Connection: Offers fast and easy connectivity and setup on Macintosh®and Windows®-based systems.
  • 4X Maximum CD-RW Recording and 6X maximum CD-ROM Reading
  • Integrated Hardware MP3 Decoding: Decodes and plays MP3 files encoded from 128Kb/sec. and up to 320Kb/sec.
  • AC or Battery Powered: Allows for up to two hours record time at 4X speed, up to two and a half hours playback of CD audio, and up to two hours playback of CD-ROM or MP3 on a rechargeable InfoLithium®battery.
  • Wired Remote Control with LCD Display: Gives quick access to the playback controls and displays MP3 music titles in ID3 tag format, or CD Text information if encoded on an audio CD.
  • Earphones: Bundled with compact earphones.

Digital Relay Software Suite

The Digital Relay drive comes bundled with a software suite that offers feature-intensive applications for Macintosh and Windows platforms, and comes with an integrated product installer that provides an easy path for users to choose the software they prefer to install on their system. The Digital Relay software suite includes:

  • CD Extreme(TM)(Windows): Allows users to create CDs or make back-ups of their existing CDs with a simple and intuitive interface;
  • abCD (Windows): Allows users to drag-and-drop files and folders to formatted CD-RW discs as easily as to a floppy or hard drive, or to "save as" to the disc from within an application;
  • Liquid Player (Windows): Choose from an online library of 100,000 music tracks (some paid, some free), and build a playlist of your favorite tacks. Burn a custom CD of your favorite Liquid tracks, including your own MP3 and WAV tracks;
  • CharisMac Discribe (Macintosh): Lets Macintosh users create and copy most popular CD types, including Macintosh & Windows Hybrid CD-ROMs;
  • Dantz Development's Retrospect® Express (Macintosh & Windows): A full-featured unattended back-up software that is easy to use, and utilizes compression to store up to 1.3GB of data on a disc. Large back up jobs can "span" multiple discs. It also includes disaster recovery capability.

Availability, Pricing and Warranty

The Digital Relay (CRX10U/A2) drive is now available at retail outlets nationwide and online shopping sites including for an estimated selling price of $399. Sony supports the concept of "worry-free" installation and easy operation with toll-free customer and technical service, Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST, along with a one-year limited warranty from date of purchase.

Key Specifications:

    Digital Relay CRX10U/A2

    --  USB 1.1 Interface
    --  4X (max) recording (CD-R), 4X (max) recording (CD-RW), 6X
        (max) reading
    --  Dimensions: 132mm x 25mm x 189.5mm or 5.25" x 1" x 7.5"
        (W x H x D)
    --  Weight of drive without battery: 340 grams (11.9 ounces),
        Battery: 95 grams (3.3 ounces)
    --  Platform support: Mac OS 8.6 or higher, Windows 98/2000/Me(TM)
    --  System requirements: PII 233Mhz or faster PC with 32Mb RAM,
        HDD with 1.2Mb sustained transfer rate or faster, Direct-X
        supported sound card, Installed USB 1.1 port, Power Macintosh
        G3, Power Mac G4, iMac DV or iBook computer running Mac OS 8.6
        or higher OR Windows 98/2000/Me
    --  Battery Life: Up to 2 hours recording (4X speed); Up to 2.5
        hours playback time (CD audio); Up to 2 hours playback time
        CD-ROM or MP3)
    --  Sustained Data Transfer Rates: - 300 kB/s Mode 1 ( 2X,
        Read/Write) - 600 kB/s Mode 1 ( 4X, Read/Write) - 900 kB/s
        Mode 1 ( 6X, Read)
    --  Random access time: 160ms
    --  Buffer memory: 8 MB
    --  Recording method: Disc-at-Once, Track-at-Once,
        Session-at-Once, Fixed & Variable Packet Writing
    --  Output: Analog stereo (headphone jack) only
    --  Reliability: 50,000 hours, 25% duty cycle
    --  Availability: April 2001
    --  ESP: $399 (Estimated U.S. retail selling prices. Actual prices
        may vary)

Sony Electronics Inc. Background: Based in San Jose, the Value Added Products Division of Sony Electronics' Component Company markets storage solutions through commercial distribution, industrial distribution, VARs, retail and reseller channels. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2000, Sony Electronics had record sales of more than $12 billion. For additional information about Sony CD-RW products, call (800) 352-7669 or visit Sony's World Wide Web site at or

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