Business Week

April 1994


Sitting in a cafe beside the skating rink at New York's Rockefeller Center, Elwood G. Norris talks into a gadget that resembles an elongated hockey puck. It sure doesn't look like what it is: a tape recorder. Well it's not really a tape recorder, because the no-moving-parts device doesn't record on tape. It uses memory chips in plug-in modules that can hold 30, 60, or 120 minutes of compressed digitized sound.

Due on the market by midyear from Norris Communications Corp. in the San Diego suburb of Poway, the sleek Flashback recorder is hardly bigger than a credit car -- and only a quarter-inch thick at the center. It's excpected to sell for between $160 and $190: pricey by microcassette-recorder standards. But Norris figures the unit's size and weight advantags could, in its first year, help it nab close to 1% of the U.S. market for portable recorders -- 17 million of which were sold last year. An added bonus: Flashback memory modules also plug into standard slots on new laptop computers and personal digital assistants, so recorded voice notes can be relayed by electronic mail or appended to computer-graphics files.


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