iriver

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IRIVER
FormerlyiRiver (1999-2004)
iriver (2004-2015)
IndustryConsumer electronics
FoundedJanuary 1999; 22 years ago (1999-01)
Number of locations
3[1] (2016)
Area served
Worldwide
ParentDreamus
Websitewww.iriver.com
www.iriver.co.kr

IRIVER (formerly iRiver then iriver) is a South Korean consumer electronics brand operated by Dreamus. It markets music and other accessories in its domestic market. Internationally it was best known for its digital audio players and other portable media devices during the 2000s, when it was a competitor of the iPod from Apple. It was created in 1999 by seven former Samsung executives, releasing portable CD players.[2]

History[edit]

2001-2005 logo
2004-2010 logo

In 1999, Duk-Jun Yang and Rae-Hwan Lee left Samsung Electronics, along with five colleagues. They formed ReignCom, with Yang as CEO, originally as a semiconductor distributor, then decided to capitalize on the growing MP3 player market. They decided to outsource manufacturing to AV Chaseway, in Shenzhen, China, and contract product design to INNO Design, an industrial design company in Palo Alto, California, while keeping R&D in-house.[2]

The company's first iriver product was the iMP-100, a portable CD player capable of decoding MP3 data files on CDs, released in November 2000. It and a later model, the iMP-250, were rebranded and sold by SONICblue in the United States under the Rio Volt name. Iriver sold later models with its own SlimX brand, billing them as the thinnest MP3 CD players in the world,[3] before jumping to other types of players. The company rose to the No. 1 position in the global market, before being displaced by the iPod's introduction.[4]

In 2002, iriver scrambled to develop its first flash memory player to meet demand from the U.S. Best Buy chain. A year later, it was first to market with 512 MB and 1 GB players,[5] and completed its IPO at KOSDAQ, a Korean stock exchange.[6] By that time, the company was also selling hard drive players to compete with the iPod. It also used adult film star Jenna Jameson[7] and an Audrey Hepburn lookalike[8] as spokesmodels promoting its products.

iriver adopted a new marketing strategy in 2005, attempting to grab mindshare from Apple. It referred to the U10 flash player as the thumb thing. This referred to users controlling their MP3 devices with their thumbs, just as they do their cell phones and text messaging devices.[9] The company also announced plans for digital audio players featuring Internet telephony.[10]

iriver's U.S. unit, based in Vancouver, Washington, held 3.4% of the U.S. MP3 player market in 2005, according to IDC. The company targeted early adopters among American users as it tried to regain dominance of the category.[11] It also opened sales divisions in Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong and Japan.

ReignCom announced in May 2006 that it would adjust its focus toward hand-held mobile gaming.[12] It has also reported sluggish sales for its music player business,[13] including a loss of 35.58 billion won (US$36.68 million) in 2005, compared with a net profit of 43.46 billion won in 2004.[14] ReignCom also owns the Korean-language Yurion and Funcake entertainment services.

In its South Korean home market, iriver once accounted for 50% of sales[15] and the company has bought ads claiming its products are a symbol of patriotism.[16] It also operates a small chain of iriver Zone stores, with locations in Korea, Japan, and China. The Incheon International Airport shop features a large heart-shaped art piece, which represents the corporate "Heartbeat Philosophy" of "dedication to its customers".[17]

In May 2007, Reigncom announced a new division, Reigncom USA, to manage the iriver brand in the United States and help develop new products.[18] The company also bought the Siren brand in Japan from A-MAX Japan, despite protests from Siren Inc. itself.[19]

South Korean private equity firm Vogo Fund held a major stake in iriver from 2007 to 2014, working to improve the company's prospects as its MP3 player business has dwindled.[20] Iriver was sold to SK Telecom in 2014.[21]

The dominance of Apple's iPod and iPhone, the decline of MP3 players and the rise of smartphones have challenged iriver's business. In 2006, the company had sales of 149.5 billion won and an operating loss of 54.4 billion won. The next year, Vogo Fund bought a large stake in iriver, which reported 5.5 billion won in profits on 206.8 billion won of sales. Deep losses followed in 2009 and 2010.[20] By this time its market share outside South Korea had dwindled.

In 2009 its parent company renamed itself to iriver and the brand expanded to other products including the Dicple series of electronic dictionaries in South Korea and then the Story e-book reader.

In 2013, iriver launched the premium brand of Astell&Kern. As the digital music player market had changed, Astell&Kern consisted of premium products instead of iriver's older conventional players.

In 2019, the IRIVER company changed its name to Dreamus.

Portable music players[edit]

iriver's products can all play MP3 and WMA audio files. Some units support text viewing, Ogg Vorbis audio files, Macromedia Flash, and/or BMP files. The company also supports Microsoft PlaysForSure, which allows recent products to support subscription-based music download services, including URGE, Napster, Rhapsody, and Yahoo! Music Unlimited.[22] It also lets users disable its DRM functionality.[23]

A nearly unique feature of the newer iriver players is the direct MP3-recording capability with selectable bitrate of internal (FM, microphone) and external (line) sources.

Many players support multilingual display in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. They support Winamp playlists and allow repeat, shuffle play and programmable functions. Several preset and one user-defined EQ settings are included, plus a built-in FM tuner.[24]

Most iriver players include a unique feature called study mode. Users can quickly jump back and forth within tracks by a certain time interval, set from three to 180 seconds in current models.[25] The option was designed to help people listening to recorded language lessons.[26] SonicBlue removed this feature from its Rio Volt models, causing some users to hack their players with iriver firmware from other regions.[27]

In 2002 iRiver introduced the iDP-100 with a new media format it created called DataPlay that holds 500MB data.[28]

Initially connecting devices to the computer for music transfer required the iRiver Music Manager. In later firmwares UMS is supported so that the computer's native file explorer could be used to transfer files.

Hard disk based players[edit]

40GB iriver H340 player from 2004
iriver H10 Jr.
  • iGP series
    • iGP-100 (1.5GB) USB 2.0 connectivity. Plays MP3, WMA, ASF, and Ogg Vorbis files. UMS. Built in lithium-ion battery. Released in 2003.
  • H/iHP series
    • H10: (5 GB, 6 GB, 20GB—except Asia), available in 4 different colors (red, blue, silver and grey), 16-bit color screen, can record from Radio, Internal Microphone (Voice) or Line-In (Line in only with extra cradle). The 5 GB and 6 GB models are around the size of the iPod mini and are composed mainly of aluminum. The navigation is done with a touchpad designed by iriver. These devices cannot play Ogg Vorbis files. PlaysForSure and UMS.
    • H10jr.: (512 MB, 1 GB) Smaller but same shape as H10. USB 2.0 connectivity. FM tuner. Voice and FM recording. Built-in lithium-ion battery. PlaysForSure and UMS.
    • iHP-100 series: (10 GB, 15 GB, 20 GB, 40 GB) Voice, line in and FM recording. Optical in and out. Built in lithium-polymer battery. UMS. USB 2.0 connectivity.
    • H300 series: (20 GB, 40 GB) PlaysForSure and UMS. Built in lithium-polymer battery. Transfer with certain Digital Cameras. Voice, line in and FM recording. Plays video with Korean firmware. USB 2.0 connectivity.
  • E series
    • E10: (6 GB)[29] Similar interface to that of the U10 series. The device also features a remote control for TV. PlaysForSure and UMS are supported. The device allows flash files to be played, videos and FM radio. It contains recording capabilities for both voice and FM radio. Released 2006 in Japan and South Korea, elsewhere in 2007.

Flash memory based players[edit]

1GB iriver iFP-799 player from 2004
512MB iriver T10 player from 2005 & 2GB T5 player from 2008
  • iFP series
    • iFP-100 (Prism): (32 MB, 64 MB, 128 MB, 256 MB, 512 MB) Prism shaped. USB 1.1 connectivity (four-pin mini-B plug). Plays MP3, WMA and WAV files. Prism shaped. MTP (UMS upgradable).
    • iFP-300 (Craft I): (64 MB, 128 MB, 256 MB, 512 MB) Prism shaped. USB 1.1 connectivity. UMS. FM tuner. Voice, line in, and FM recording.
    • iFP-500 (MasterPiece I): (256 MB, 512 MB, 1 GB) Soap bar shaped. USB 1.1 connectivity. UMS. FM tuner. Built in lithium-ion battery. Voice, line in and FM recording.
    • iFP-700 (Craft II): (128 MB, 256 MB, 512 MB, 1 GB, 4 GB) Prism Shaped with rounded edges. USB 2.0 connectivity. UMS. FM tuner. Voice, line in and FM recording.
    • iFP-800 (Craft II): (128 MB, 256 MB, 512 MB, 1 GB) Prism-shaped with rounded edges. USB 2.0 connectivity. UMS. FM tuner. Voice, line in and FM recording.
    • iFP-900 (MasterPiece II): (256 MB, 512 MB, 1 GB) Soap bar-shaped. Color 1.2" LCD display. FM tuner. Voice, line in and FM recording. USB 2.0 connectivity. UMS. Built-in lithium ion battery.
    • iFP-1000 (Prism Eye): (256 MB, 512 MB) 0.3 megapixel digital camera built in, prism shaped, color screen. USB 2.0 connectivity. UMS. Removable lithium ion battery.
  • T series
    • T5
    • T6: 4 GB. Thin low-end MP3 player. It has a colour 1.8-inch 128×160 screen and light-up touch controls.
    • T7 (Volcano / Stix): (4 GB) 25 mm active matrix 64×128 px OLED display; FM radio with recording facility and voice recording; SRS WOW HD; integrated lithium polymer battery and integrated USB connector.
    • T8 (Candy Bar): 4 GB. Weighs 26 g. Latest model in the T series. 1″ organic light-emitting diode (OLED) 128 x 64 screen.[30]
    • T10 (Music Clip): (256 MB, 512 MB, 1 GB, 2 GB) Semi-prism shaped, MTP or UMS.
    • T20 (Metro Look): (256 MB, 512 MB, 1 GB) USB stick design. Voice, line in and FM recording. Built in lithium-ion battery. PlaysForSure and UMS.
    • T30 (Craft III): (256 MB, 512 MB, 1 GB) prism-shaped; line in, PlaysForSure and UMS support.[1]
    • T50: (1 GB) using an AA battery.
    • T60: (1 GB, 2 GB, 4 GB) using an AAA battery. Smaller than T50.
  • N series
    • N10: (128 MB, 256 MB, 512 MB, 1 GB) "medallion style" — worn hanging from the neck. USB 2.0 connectivity. UMS. Released in 2004.
    • N11: (128 MB, 256 MB, 512 MB, 1 GB) "medallion style" — worn hanging from the neck. Features longer battery life than N10. USB 2.0 connectivity. UMS. Built in lithium-ion battery. OLED screen.
    • N12: "medallion style" — worn hanging from the neck. Released in South Korea in 2006.
    • N15
    • N20
    • N20S
  • S series
    • S7: (1 GB) Small, screenless version of S10.
    • S10: (2 GB flash) Very small player, only 17.5g. Has OLED screen. Uses D-click control system. Built in lithium-polymer battery. UMS. USB 2.0 connectivity. Announced September 2006.
    • S100: (4 GB, 8 GB) Weighs 77 g. Has a 2.83" 240 x 320 screen with a T-DMB tuner, FM radio, voice recorder a microSD card slot.[31]
    • Mplayer: A Mickey Mouse head-shaped digital audio player created in collaboration with Disney released in 2007.[32]
    • Mplayer 2: Upgraded version of Mplayer.
    • Mplayer Eyes: Variant of Mplayer, 2008.
  • E series
    • E100 : (2 GB, 4 GB, 8 GB) A portable media player with video, music, photo and a built-in FM tuner and stereo speakers. Introduced at CES 2008.
    • E50 : (2 GB, 4 GB, 8 GB) A Minor version of E100. Built with Aluminum.
    • E150: (2 GB, 4 GB, 8 GB) Upgraded version of the E100.
    • E200: (4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB) Major upgraded version of the E100. Built with full Aluminum.
  • Pocket Puppy

Iriver initially dropped UMS support for the U10, T30, T20 and T10 models in favor of Microsoft's MTP. The company later released an official Firmware Updater[33] that allows users to switch between the MTP and UMS interfaces (for some models except 256 MB and 2 GB ones). The updater will only connect to the player from Windows XP SP1 or above.

Although the T10 2 GB version distributed in the US and Canada does not officially support such firmware, the European version does. There is currently[when?] ongoing discussion on the misticriver forums to port this firmware for use on the US version.

CD players[edit]

iRiver SlimX iMP-550 player from 2004
  • iMP-50, 100, 150, 250, 700T, 1000, 1100
    • "SlimX" sub-series: iMP-550, 450, 400, 350

Portable media players[edit]

The iriver SPINN features SAMSUNG storage and a Telechips processor. It also features both touchscreen and a clickwheel mechanism for navigation. The SPINN implements haptic feedback by vibrating with user input. Additional hardware capabilities enable it to decode Xvid and Divx formats and play back audio using SRS WOW
  • PMC series: (20 GB, 40 GB) ("Portable Media Center") running Microsoft Windows Mobile-based Portable Media Center.
  • PMP series: (20 GB, 40 GB) ("Portable Media Player") discontinued for the PMC.
  • P series
    • P7: 4 GB, 8 GB, and 16 GB versions with 4.3-inch, 480 x 272 resolution LCD touchscreen[34]
    • P8
    • P10: (33 GB) Portable media player with dictionary apps introduced at CES 2008. 1.3" hard disk, 4-inch touchscreen.[35]
    • P20
    • P35
    • P100 IPS
  • U series (Clix series)
    • Clix gen 2 supports MP3 and OGG audio files, WMV, DivX and XviD video. Flash Lite games, and display of JPGs and plain text files. Hi-res AMOLED screen. Player is about the size of a credit card. Comes in 2-, 4- and 8-gigabyte versions.
iriver Clix 2 portable media player from 2007
  • U10 series: (1 GB, 2 GB), 2.2-inch screen, uses D-click control system, Flash Lite support
    • clix: iriver's flagship product when released in 2006. Started off as a rebranded U10 player and underwent a completed redesign in 2007 with the 2nd generation player. Best known as the lementer of iriver's direct click interface. Both the first and the second generation of the clix were very well received by critics, and both are the highest rated mp3 players ever at CNET with 8.7/10
      • Generation 1: (1 GB, 2 GB, 4 GB) Rectangular with rounded edges, 2.2" LCD, 70grams, microphone and FM radio recording, cradle available for extra functionality.
      • Generation 2: (2 GB, 4 GB, 8 GB) Stretched rectangle with rounded edges. 2.2", Active Matrix OLED Display, customizable with themes, FM and voice recording, UMS(MSC) – MTP compatible (interchangeable), cradle available for extra functionality.
    • Clix+: (4 GB, 8 GB) A somewhat flatter Clix model featuring a DMB tuner. Like the previous generations, the Clix+ has a 2.2" AMOLED screen.
  • SPINN: 4 GB, 8 GB, and 16 GB versions with a 3.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen and unique toggle-wheel based tactile controls. Active Matrix OLED Display, FM and voice recording, T-DMB. Successor of U10 and Clix 2.
  • U100: Portable media player with WI-FI feature. Came out in January, 2011.
  • Lplayer: released in 2008 in 4GB and 8GB.
  • NV series: These have built in satellite navigation
    • NV mini (M3)
    • NV Classic (M7)
    • NV (M10): Similar to NV Life, except it has a turnable wheel to navigate in addition to the touch screen.
    • NV Life (M20): (2 GB and 4 GB): An MP3 player based on Windows CE 5. It has a GPS and DMB feature. It has a touch interface with some keys for volume and power.
iriver B20 receiving live television via DMB
  • B series: These have DMB tuners for watching live TV.
    • B10 "Pocket TV", released 2006
    • B20, also featuring DAB digital radio
    • B30
  • Smart HD (K1) : (8 GB, 16 GB) Portable Media Player based on Windows CE Operation Software. Wi-Fi, T-DMB tuner, FM radio, dictionary contents available. 3.5" 320 x 480 TFT-LCD touchscreen.
  • W7: widescreen with a touch 3-inch interface available in 4GB and 8GB versions. Winner of the MP3 and Portable Video category of "Best of CES Award" by CNET in 2008.
  • W10 is a media player featuring a 3" touchscreen and internet phone function with KT.
  • X20: Portable video player with a removable battery. Expandable with microSD cards.

UMPCs, Tablets, Smartphones[edit]

iriver showed off the W10 ultra mobile PC or tablet PC in a Hong Kong Electronics Fair in 2006, but it was not released.[36]

  • iriver Wing was introduced at Consumer Electronics Show January 2008.[37][38] It was a clamshell ultra-mobile computer with a 4-inch touchscreen display and flat QWERTY keyboard.[39]
  • iriver Tab: 7-inch tablet computer running Android, released in 2011.
  • iriver WOWtab
  • iriver Vanilla: Android 2.2 smartphone
  • iriver Ulala: Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread smartphone.

Ebook readers[edit]

iriver Story e-book reader on display at IFA Berlin 2010
  • iriver Story: Electronic ink e-reader, with SD card expansion released in 2010.
  • iriver Cover Story: has an extra cover
  • iriver Story HD 2011 model added Wi-Fi and an improved screen.[40]

Electronic dictionaries (Dicple)[edit]

iriver Dicple D2000

Only released in South Korea.

  • D-10 (Dicple, which is a simplified character of dictionary & (mp3) player) This is an Electronic Dictionary featuring music playback. It is selling after 2004 Dec.
  • D-11
  • D-20 (Dicple α) This is also an Electronic Dictionary. Featuring an improved design and a 4.3, 260000, TFT color screen supporting pictures and other features that a typical electronic dictionary does not. It is designed to mimic the look of a laptop at 176(W) x 81.9(D) x 26.7(H) mm and comes in glossy red or black. The device has a 22-hour battery life for browsing the dictionary and a 30-hour battery life for audio. It is selling after 2006 Jan.
  • D-25 (Dicple 51) This Electronic Dictionary features 4.3, 260,000, TFT color screen, 1.3gb flash memory. This device is also known as Dicple 51 due to its number of contents. It is selling after 2006 Aug.
  • D-26
  • D-27
  • D-30
  • D-28 This is a minor version of the D-30. Removed PDF viewer and touchscreen.
  • D-5
  • D-33
  • D-50N
  • D-100
  • D-150
  • D-200
  • D-1000
  • D-2000
  • D-3000
  • D-3300

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "IRIVER GLOBAL". Iriver. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Outsourcing Strategy of Reigncom, the MP3 Player Corporation". Archived from the original on 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2007-05-13.
  3. ^ "iriver Company Introduction". Archived from the original on August 20, 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-13.
  4. ^ 'Innovation became part of our lifestyle' THE KOREA HERALD, September 15, 2005
  5. ^ "Korea's ReignCom: Moving Up The MP3 Charts". Archived from the original on 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2007-05-13.
  6. ^ "iriver unveils the H10 [5GB colour]". Archived from the original on 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2007-05-13.
  7. ^ "iriver Ad". Archived from the original on 2007-11-28. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  8. ^ . 7 November 2006 https://web.archive.org/web/20061107044432/http://218.145.55.194/Data/paper/audreyhepburn.jpg. Archived from the original on 7 November 2006. Retrieved 14 April 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "ReignCom Unveils MP3 Players." Korea Times, June 21, 2005.
  10. ^ "Telecoms Korea News Service". Telecomskorea.com. Archived from the original on 2008-12-08. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  11. ^ "iRiver banks on Clix". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-13.
  12. ^ "iRiver On The Rocks". Archived from the original on 2007-08-09. Retrieved 2007-05-13.
  13. ^ "Big Quarterly Losses for Reigncom". Archived from the original on August 8, 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-13.
  14. ^ MP3 player maker ReignCom swings to loss in 2005. Yonhap, February 28, 2006
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-10-29. Retrieved 2007-10-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link). Retrieved on 2013-12-09.
  16. ^ "iRiver's strategy against Apple: Buy Korean!". Archived from the original on 2007-08-27. Retrieved 2007-05-13.
  17. ^ "Grand Opening of iriver zone at Incheon Int'l airport". Archived from the original on December 8, 2008. Retrieved 2007-05-13.
  18. ^ "Reigncom Ltd (060570.KQ) Key Developments | Stocks | Reuters.com". Stocks.us.reuters.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  19. ^ "Siren Inc. Defends Against Unauthorized Sale of Siren Brand in Japan". San Jose, Calif.: Siren. June 1, 2007. Archived from the original on September 2, 2007.
  20. ^ a b iriver returns to the M&A market after 5 years | PE Korea Archived 2012-04-26 at the Wayback Machine. Privateequitykorea.com. Retrieved on 2013-12-09.
  21. ^ "SKT Acquires iriver". Archived from the original on 2014-06-07. Retrieved 2013-02-25.
  22. ^ Journal, Walter S. MossbergStaff Reporter of The Wall Street. "Yahoo, RealNetworksOffer New AlternativesTo Apple iTunes Model". WSJ. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  23. ^ Cory Doctorow (May 26, 2006). "iRiver gives customers the choice of switching off DRM – Boing Boing". Boingboing.net. Archived from the original on April 8, 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  24. ^ "iRiver America Announces Next Generation MP3 CD Player" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-05-13.
  25. ^ "Study mode explained! - MisticRiver :: For iriver Enthusiasts". Misticriver.net. Archived from the original on 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  26. ^ (PDF). 12 March 2006 http://www.iriveramerica.com/download/imp150.pdf. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 March 2006. Retrieved 14 April 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ "RioVolt SP90/100/250 FAQ". Geocities.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  28. ^ https://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/29109/iriver_idp-100_mp3_player/
  29. ^ The term gigabyte (GB) has two possible meanings. Sometimes it means 10003 B (one billion bytes) and sometimes it means 10243 B (one gibibyte). The manufacturer does not specify which of the two is intended.
  30. ^ iRiver T8 Candy Bar Introduced Archived 2010-06-13 at the Wayback Machine. The MP3 Players (2010-05-31). Retrieved on 2013-12-09.
  31. ^ iRiver Unleashes S100 PMP In Korea | NextGadgets.net | Cool Gadgets, New Gadgets, Latest Gadgets, Future Gadgets, Electronic Gadgets, Hi Tech Gadgets News. NextGadgets.net (1999-02-22). Retrieved on 2013-12-09.
  32. ^ https://pocketables.com/2007/07/review-iriver-m-2.html
  33. ^ "iriver Firmware Updater".
  34. ^ iriver P7 specifications Archived 2009-01-10 at the Wayback Machine, Obsessable
  35. ^ https://pocketables.com/2008/01/ces-2008-iriver.html
  36. ^ https://www.digitimes.com/news/a20060417PB205.html
  37. ^ "iriver Showcases Linux Based UMPC | LinuxElectrons". Linuxelectrons.com. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  38. ^ "CES 2008: iRiver Wing UMPC – SlashGear". Slashgear.com. Archived from the original on 2008-06-28. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  39. ^ https://pocketables.com/2008/05/update-iriver-w.html
  40. ^ Norris, Ashley (2010-01-05). "CES 2010 – iriver's Story ereader goes wireless and gets proper launch". TechDigest. Archived from the original on 2010-01-10. Retrieved 2010-05-16.

External links[edit]