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Five portable MP3 players that arrived before the iPod

RCA was one of the first companies to release a portable MP3 player
RCA LYRA

If you ask people what the first portable MP3 player was, 90 percent will most likely say it's the iPod. Apple's flagship player, released in November of 2001, did change the history of portable audio listening forever. However, Apple didn't invent the portable MP3 player.

Actually, MP3 players have been around since 1998. The first MP3 player that was widely available in the United States was Diamond Multimedia's Rio PMP300 player in 1998. The record industry tried to fight against this, but absolutely failed.

RCA created the very slick RCA LYRA player in 1999. It came with a 32MB CF card, which was considered a lot of memory back in the day. The later RCA LYRA players came with a lot more memory.

Here are five important portable MP3 players that were released before the iPod. They aren't listed in any order of importance; they all contributed to the iPod, whether Apple wants to admit it or not.

Twitter: @ddeino

Archos Jukebox 6000 (2000)

Archos Jukebox 6000 (2000)
Archos Jukebox 6000 (2000) Archos

Released in 2000, the Archos Jukebox 6000 was clunky. However, the audio quality was excellent and Archos soon released smaller and better players.

Cowon iAudio CW100 (2000)

Cowon iAudio CW100 (2000)
Cowon iAudio CW100 (2000) Cowon

The Cowon iAudio CW100, released in mid-2000, was a beauty. However, it wasn't widely available like the other MP3 players that are listed here.

Creative Nomad Jukebox 6000 (2000)

Creative Nomad Jukebox 6000 (2000)
Creative Nomad Jukebox 6000 (2000) Creative Labs

Creative Labs released this solid (but huge) 6GB MP3 player in the Fall of 2000. It was the most advanced audio player released at that time.

RCA LYRA RD2201A (1999)

RCA LYRA RD2201A (1999)
RCA LYRA RD2201A (1999) RCA

In late 1999, RCA released their very first portable MP3 player. It was small, well-built, and could play 32MB worth of music. It sold out immediately almost everywhere.

Diamond Rio PMP300 (1998)

Diamond Rio PMP300 (1998)
Diamond Rio PMP300 (1998) Diamond Multimedia

Diamond Multimedia's very first MP3 player caused a lot of controversy and lawsuits. Needless to say, they weren't stopped and released several more MP3 players.

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