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Rio Audio, RIP: 1998 - 2005

Ryan Block, @ryan
Rio Carbon Pearl

It was a good seven years, but under the constant pressures of this mortal coil, our good friend Rio today succumbed to moving on from this temporal plane. Since shipping the first mass-market (and second altogether) digital audio player in 1998, the 32MB PMP300, Rio weathered storm after storm. After prevailing against the RIAA MP3 player backlash, Rio parent brand S3 merged with Diamond Multimedia to form SONICblue, only to be cut up and sold to D&M Holdings under the Digital Networks North America (DNNA) name, along with other withering SONICblue brands such as ReplayTV and Escient; after a brief comeback with their relatively popular line of Karma and Carbon devices, D&M once again cut up the business, selling Rio's IP (including software and long-standing patents and patent applications) and engineering resources to chipset manufacturer SigmaTel. Today D&M announced to no great fanfare that they would be shuttering Rio's doors permanently, though the Rio brand and trademark will not change hands as of this time. Like the orphan child with the heart of gold neglected its whole life until its premature and lonely death, we mourn the passing of Rio—loved so dearly but by so few.

[Thanks, Scott]

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