HP has expanded its rebranding of Apple’s popular iPod digital music players by adding the iPod shuffle to its lineup. The iPod shuffle is a USB flash-based music player which can play back MP3, WAV, and Apple’s proprietary AAC audio format as well as audio books from Audible.com. (Like other iPods, the iPod shuffle does not support Windows Media or Real Media formats). The unit also offers its now-famous “shuffle mode” which randomly selects tracks for playback, and is managed using Apple’s iTunes jukebox software, which is available for Mac OS X as well as Windows 2000 and XP, and which also provides access to Apple’s iTunes Music Store, still the dominant player in digital music sales. The device also doubles as a USB flash drive for storing documents or other files, and boasts 12 hours of playback on a single charge.
iPod shuffles are available immediately from HP to customers in the U.S. and Canada in two sizes: a 512 MB unit costs $99.99, while a 1 GB version costs $129.99. (These prices are essentially identical to Apple’s own.) HP also offers 20 GB and 60 GB versions of Apple iPods, as well as 4 GB and 6 GB version of Apple’s iPod minis. (There’s no word on whether