Oakley releases second-gen MP3-player sunglasses

Back in February, we reviewed the Oakley Thump MP3 sunglasses. While the Thumps did play music loud and well, the somewhat cumbersome construction and high price prevented many from buying them. Later this month, Oakley the new Thump 2 will be hitting store shelves, sporting a cleaner look, more capacity and perhaps most importantly a lower price.

Oakley's new MP3 sunglasses are based on the firm's "Gascan" frame and comes without flip-up "baseball style" glasses of the original Thump models for a more European look. While the previous product generation had a visible bulge in the stems to hold the electronics, Thump 2 looks much cleaner with only the control buttons and ear phones visible. Just like the original, a USB port is in the bottom of one of the stems. The port recharges the Thump 2 and also serves as the interface to transfer music from a computer to the memory integrated into sunglasses.

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Oakley Thump 2

The original Oakley Thump was the first commercial product that integrated an MP3 player and sunglasses.
Play and stop buttons were built into the sides of the eyeglass stems. The ear-bud speakers flipped down and actually went "into" the ear, providing a secure fit. The price for the original Thump was $495 for the 256 MByte version.

Some review outlets thought the original design was a bit clunky, but Oakley says that sales results of the device were positive. "Sales have been actually pretty good. I know it has been receiving mixed reviews, but in the Sunbelt states they sell very well," says Lucy Chung, spokesperson for Oakley.

The Thump 2 plays AAC encoded songs, in addition to MP3s. Songs can be listened to in order or randomly. The new Thump will be available in mid to late October and will sell for $300 to $450, depending on their storage capacity (256 MByte, 512 MByte, and 1 GByte).