Kane Kramer is a British inventor and businessman. He is credited with the initial invention of the digital audio player, in 1979. In 1981 Kramer filed for a UK patent for his newly conceived Digital Audio Player, the IXI. UK Patent 2115996 was issued in 1985, and U.S. Patent 4,667,088 was issued in 1987. The player was the size of a credit card with a small LCD screen and navigation and volume buttons and would have held data of at least 8 MB of solid state chip with a capacity of 3.5 minutes worth of audio.
Plans were made for a 10-minute stereo memory card and the system was at one time fitted with a hard drive enabling over an hour of recorded digital music.
His first investor was Sir Paul McCartney, later Kramer set up a company to promote IXI and five working prototypes were produced with 16 bit sampling at 44.1 kilohertz with the pre-production prototype being unveiled at the APRS Audio/Visual trade exhibition in October 1986.
In a 2004 interview with The Guardian, Kramer stated that the company at the time had “orders worth £60,000,000” for the device from the recording industry. However, in 1988 a boardroom dispute within Kramer’s company and the subsequent failure to raise the £60,000 required to renew the patent resulted in the patent lapsing and entering the public domain, however he is still the owner of the designs.
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