Rio Carbon

The Rio Carbon is a range of digital audio players that was produced by the now-defunct Rio from 2004 to 2005. It was similar in size, capacity and cost with the Apple iPod Mini that debuted earlier the same year. He was the second Rio player to use a miniature hard drive for storage, after the Rio Nitrus, which was the first to release a 1.5 GB drive by the end of 2003.

The Carbon was announced on August 2, 2004. The first 500 Carbons were produced in limited edition with a unique serial number (1-500) laser etched on the polished steel (back) side of the drive. The initial Carbon was in silver with a 5GB drive and retail at $ 249.99 US, as well as the iPod Mini with 4GB. An off-white version called Carbon Pearl was the next, with a 5GB drive in the beginning, then a 6 GB disk later, while the Microdrives price went down. This was followed by the ce2100 of 2.5 GB (black) and ce2110 (light green) which offered features and reduced costs. An 8GB model with a color screen was planned, code-named Avalon, but was never produced due to the demise of Rio in August 2005. Rio officially left the market for portable music players in August 2005 and no longer provides player updates. The latest official firmware version (1.95) supports PlaysForSure licenses purchased and purchased on subscription. An unpublished version of the Rio Carbon firmware called “The Developer’s Cut” was launched in January 2006 by enthusiasts, and offers several new and updated features.

The carbon has a microphone and a two-way wheel, which is used for scrolling and adjusting the volume, as well as a 5-way navigation pad. It is small (82 x 61 x 13 millimeters) and weighs 3.2 ounces, and is powered by a non-removable lithium-ion rechargeable battery that has up to 20 hours of playback time. The wheel is notched. The 5-way navigation pad or scroll wheel and menu button can be used independently to navigate the menus or they can be used together. Both have different behaviors, and are therefore complementary, not redundant. Since the wheel is used for navigation as well as for volume control, you must exit the menu to adjust the volume. The Carbon can play MP3 and WMA audio files as well as audio files. It is compatible with Microsoft Windows, Linux and Macintosh because it can be used as a USB mass storage device. It is also compatible with PlaysForSure. Other features include:

Included with the purchase of Rio Carbon and Rio Karma is Rio Music Manager, which can be used to transfer music to carbon. It only allows the transfer of music files that are fully compatible with the player.

The Carbon, at the time of its release, had the unique peculiarity of costing less than one of its own components, its hard drive. This distinction led to an activity known by the slang term “carbonization”, whereby customers buy a Rio Carbon, only to dismantle it and sell the disc drive for a net profit.

The Rio CE2100 is a parent of the Carbon that has a hard drive of 2.5 GB. The CE2100 (sometimes incorrectly called the CE2500), has no microphone, but keeps the hole of the microphone since it shares the same case as the Carbon. The ce2100 comes in black. The green version has the model number ce2110, the only difference being the color of the plastic part on the front and its limited retail availability (Target and FYE stores only). The ce2100 is also compatible with the update of the “Developer’s Cut” firmware.

* Version 3.04 supports MTP and MSC connections.

The Rio Carbon, as well as all Rio-based Microdrive-based players, can be modified to run on Compact Flash cards instead of a hard disk. This requires partial dismantling of the unit, removal of the Microdrive, replacement with a compatible CF card, formatting of the memory and loading of the device firmware. CF compatible cards must be 8 GB or less in size and must be compatible with TrueATA / TrueIDE mode. This mod will increase the speed and responsiveness of the player, while making it more durable and increasing the life of the battery. The 8 GB limit is due to 24-bit addressing in the firmware. Some compatible cards confirmed:

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