Rio 500

The Rio 500 is considered the first second-generation MP3 digital audio player (portable digital audio player) and was produced by Diamond Multimedia. It was delivered on September 22, 1999. The Rio 500 was the successor to the Rio PMP300 and provided a number of user-requested features (including USB and higher audio quality). There were many critics of the Rio 500.

The Rio 500 was the first MP3 player to allow file transfer via USB cable and PC and Mac support. It has 64 MB of flash memory available for music, has a light blue backlight, the ability to set bookmarks, has an expansion card slot (SmartMedia card) and is powered by an AA battery. It’s about the size of a standard pack of playing cards. Subsequent firmware updates have made better use of available screen space by displaying additional track information, including bit rate.

The Rio 500 has a USB port that looks like the standard 5-pin mini-B type, but it is not compatible with modern USB mini-B cables. The USB1.1 specification was released in September 1998 and the 500 was released only a year later, but specifications for mini-B cables and plugs were not established until October 2000 Before that date, some digital cameras had adopted mini-B connector using pinout with data lines reversed (versus specification) and the +5V line disconnected; the Rio 500 had also adopted pre-2000 pinouts. The USB cables included with these devices generally had an arrow shape printed on the mini-connector rather than the “trident” USB logo. Any cable used for the Rio 500 must have the + 5V (red wire) line cut or it may cause damage when connected to a power source. The spare part Rio # 90260017-001 is available on eBay from several suppliers.

Diamond no longer provides support for the Rio, and the latest version of Microsoft Windows to work with Rio’s Diamond software was Windows 98/2000. Therefore, owners wishing to retain their use of Rio independently produced freeware programs such as “Dreaming of Brazil” or “RIOsitude” to download audio files to the player. Likewise, the toolkit provides support based on the Linux command line for the Rio.

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