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Sonicblue sings in harmony with Coke

The device maker and the soda company would like to teach the world to sing--or at least to listen to songs on their new digital audio player.

Sonicblue and Coca-Cola would like to teach the world to sing--or at least to listen to songs on the companies' new digital audio player.

The device maker and the soda company announced on Wednesday their first co-branded player, the $89.95 Coke Brand SP50C. The gadget can play back analog CDs and CDs with digital audio files stored on them.

David Huffman, vice president of audio products at Sonicblue, said the companies struck the deal because both shoot for the same audience: teenagers.

While this is Coke's first co-branded digital audio player, Sonicblue has already experienced success with the strategy. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company worked with Nike on a player for fitness buffs that used removable flash memory, rather than discs, to store music files.

The Nike PSA/Play devices were among the top-five selling players for Sonicblue, according to Huffman. Nike and Sonicblue will part ways at the end of the year, when the PSA/Play devices will stop being sold. Nike has moved on to an alliance with Philips Electronics.

The Coke Brand SP50C player has 120-second skip protection and runs on two AA batteries. Consumers can store up to 10 hours of digital audio on a CD, according to Sonicblue. The technology used in the Coke Brand SP50C comes from the Rio Volt line of Sonicblue players and will begin selling in early June.

Later this summer and fall, Sonicblue will take what it learned from working with Nike and continue to develop players for the fitness market, Huffman said. Sonicblue will add new features, such as an FM radio, and sleeker designs to upcoming players.

The first Philips-Nike player, due by September, will use removable flash memory, but the companies are working on CD players as well. Plans also include apparel and equipment that involve communications.