Olympus quits making MP3 players

First it was Rio, and now Olympus has quit the MP3 player market due to poor sales. Its m:robe line, which includes the MP3-playing MR-100 and the mu

First it was Rio, and now Olympus has quit the MP3 player market due to poor sales.

Its m:robe line, which includes the MP3-playing MR-100 and the multimedia MR500i, will be frozen as the company focuses on its more traditional digital camera products.

We once thought that the 5GB MR-100 would be an iPod Mini rival, but its retro LED coolness couldn't rescue it from being largely ignored in the UK, despite popularity in Korea. It could now become something of a cult classic, as no more models will be shipped over to these shores.

Olympus' move follows the relatively recent demise of Rio, which was sold off in August by its owner D&M Holdings. According to D&M, the reason was that 'mass-market portable digital audio player market was not a strong enough fit with the company's core'.

For both Rio and Olympus, though, the fundamental problem has been the immoveable object known as Apple (which almost has a 90% market share for hard-drive players and almost 50% for flash players), and the over-crowded nature of the MP3 player market.

Olympus will now concentrate on producing high-end digital SLRs, which are currently a minority part of its camera business. Goodbye m:robe, it was nice knowing you.

Related stories

Rio bites the dust