Napster offers subscribers MP3 player

Music service quietly begins offering customers a branded digital music player when they subscribe to the service.

Napster has quietly begun offering customers a branded digital music player when they subscribe to Napster's service for a year, according to the company's Web site.

Those who join the "Napster To Go" service can receive a 256MB flash memory MP3 player for free, or pay an additional $50 to get a 1GB flash player.

Company representatives were unavailable for comment.

The device comes as Apple Computer continues to dominate the digital-download market. Napster and other music services that compete with iTunes have struggled to cut into Apple's lead due in part to its streamlined approach to selling music and its iPod music players.

According to a report in Mobilemag.com, the Napster player supports the MP3, WMA, WAV, MPEG4 (video), and JPEG (photo) formats.

Napster's design is reminiscent of that for the iPod, with a large wheel under the display screen. When it comes to storage, Napster's has a long way to go to catch Apple. The largest-capacity iPod is equipped with 60GB of memory.

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