iriver clix
URGE integrates tightly with Windows Media Player 11

MTV today announced its URGE online music service which is destined to take on the overwhelming dominance of Apple's iPod/iTunes dominance. The URGE music service was developed in conjunction with Microsoft's Windows Media Player 11 and aims to displace the somewhat misguided and unfocused music services currently offered for Windows-based media players through Windows Media 10.

URGE is built directly into Microsoft's new Windows Media Player 11 software (an official beta download is available for testing here) and will initially offer over 2 million tracks for download. Customers will be able to download single tracks for 99 cents apiece or choose from two tiers of monthly subscription service. $9.95 will give you the ability to download unlimited tracks to your PC, however, you would only be able to listen to them on your PC. The $15.95 plan allows you to also transfer the music to a compatible media player -- iPods get no love with WMP11 and URGE. Users can immediately begin a 14-day free trial of the service with unlimited music downloads. No credit card is required to sign-up for the trial. While the initial version of URGE will only support music downloads, it will be expanded to video downloads in the coming months.

As for Windows Media Player 11, the new interface for software application is quite a break from the largely text-based columns of Artist/Album/Track Number/Track/Genre/etc. With my music library neatly organized with Apple iTunes, I have to continuously scroll through page after page of music to get to whatever album I'm searching for. With Windows Media Player 11, I can organize my music and peruse through my collection using my album covers as a guide; nifty touch. Other niceties include simplified navigation using Instant Search, audio fingerprinting for advanced metadata tagging and new audio formats including Windows Media Audio Professional and WAV Lossless.

Also launching with Windows Media Player 11 and the URGE online music service is the new iriver clix 2GB media personal media player. The iriver clix features the ability to playback music, video and photos. The device has a 2.2" color screen along with a built-in FM tuner, integrated voice recorder, USB 2.0 connectivity and up to 25 hours of battery life. The iriver clix is available now from iriver's online store for $199.

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