Engineers designing earbuds face a choice these days: Should they build earbuds that support a variety of devices and perform a host of functions, or should they focus exclusively on digital media players and audio quality? The engineers who designed Razer’s Moray Plus Mobile Gaming Communicator decided to go for the gusto—and they almost made it.
The Morays can do a lot more than pump the latest Eels album down your ear canals. They come with an iPhone-compatible, in-line, omni-directional microphone; adapters for Sony’s PSP 2000/3000 and Nintendo’s DS/DS Lite handheld gaming systems; and a split stub cable you can plug into your PC’s headphone and mic jacks. Razer also thows in a padded carrying case that you’ll actually want to hang onto: It zips shut, includes mesh pockets for each accessory, and doesn’t look like your sister’s jewelry bag.
Microsoft seems to be pushing ahead with software updates to the Zune HD. In an upcoming spring firmware release, the player will get support for XviD encoded videos and streaming playlists. If you have a hard drive full of XviD files (that you may or may not have gotten via BitTorrent) this is certainly good news, as you won’t have to convert them whenever you want to view them on the Zune HD. Support for the similar, but proprietary, DivX codec is unlikely.
The streaming playlists will be an extension of the Smart DJ offering already in the Zune desktop software. This will allow the device to offer playlist suggestions much like the iTunes Genius feature. Smart DJ will pack a little extra surprise, though. When the player is in range of Wi-Fi, Smart DJ can stream songs right from the Zune Marketplace without the need for local storage. Does this make the Zune HD a more appealing device in your opinion?
We don't have a DoDoNA S-100 MP3 player in front of us to evaluate, so for all we know, it could be the greatest sounding media device on the planet. And if all the attention was put into how it sounds, that would certainly explain why the aesthetics received so little attention.
While the cube design won't win any ergonomic awards, more befitting an MP3 player is the OLED display, albeit measuring just 1.1 inches. The DoDoNA also boasts an FM radio, built-in speaker, voice recording, and support for MP3, WMA, OGG, and FLAC. On the memory front, the S-100 comes equipped with just 4GB of internal Flash.
Probably most egregious, however, is the price tag - the thing runs $170.
Sony announced their latest in the Walkman line of players, the NW-A840 series. The new Walkman comes in at 7.2mm, a touch thicker than the latest iPod Nano (6.2mm). However, it also sports capacities up to 64GB. You are going to pay for it though. The 64GB A-series Walkman (NW-A847) will set you back almost $450.
What does that hefty price tag get you? A 2.8in OLED display (no touch screen) with TV-Out capability, FM radio, digital noise cancelling and premium MDR-EX300SL ear buds in the box. The device also boasts on-screen lyric display. Further, it offers a smattering of popular format compatibilities as well as battery life lasting for 29 hours of music (at 128kbps) and 9 hours of video (at 384kbps).
It could be a tough sell in the US, especially where iPods dominate the portable-player market. The new line is due to be available on October 31st. Do you think it has enough appeal to edge out some iPod Nano market share?
For most people, an MP3 player serves a pretty narrow purpose: it plays music, maybe a video here or there if you’ve got a newer model, and might have a handful of applications. All in all, though, MP3 players are rarely treated as anything more than tiny, portable jukeboxes, which is a shame, because as gadgets they’ve got the potential for so much more. That’s why, in this article, we’re going to show you how to install custom Rockbox firmware and breathe new life into your trusty old MP3 player.
Rockbox is an open source replacement firmware for MP3 players. It supports a wide range of MP3 players, including many (but not all) players from Apple, Archos, Cowon, iriver, Olympus, SanDisk and Toshiba. Before reading any further, check out the chart at the top of the Rockbox homepage to see whether your specific model is supported or not.
Didn't get that iPod, Zune, or other portable music player you had written down on your holiday wish list? Perhaps you need to work on your pitch. When making your plea to your parents, significant other, or whoever it is you're hoping will buy you an MP3 player next year, be sure to let them know it could be a matter of life and death. Let us explain.
Things were looking pretty grim for a skier and a snowboarder, both from France, who managed to get lost late Friday near the resort of Savognin in southeast Switzerland. Being lost in the cold and and snowy Swiss mountains is reason enough for panic, and though the two were able to call for help on a cell phone, the battery died soon after, leaving the two tourists in a chilly predicament. Lucky for them, their MP3 player gave their location away.
"The two winter sports enthusiasts were found by the crew of the Rega helicopter shortly after midnight -- thanks to the faint light of their MP3 player," said Gery Baumann, spokesman for mountain rescue service Rega.
Reuters reports the two men escaped with only mild hypothermia.
Microsoft’s Zune is seldom in the news, for its much feted rival, the Apple iPod, hogs all the limelight. Now, Philadelphia City Paper’s Neal Santos has revealed that he spotted soon-to-be-President Barack Obama with a Microsoft Zune in a gym. Although Santos was too mesmerized to talk to Obama, he did notice the President-elect hop onto the “machine next to me and broke a mean sweat while reading a copy of USA Today and listening to his Zune.”
He later claimed in a subsequent blog that he knows exactly what a Zune looks like and that he was sure to have spotted Obama with one. However, he isn’t sure whether it was his personal Zune. The blogosphere allows scribes to freely dump such harmless stories, though of no real import, on their blogs.
Dell has decided to pass on releasing their MP3 player this holiday season. With no real reason cited for the delay, it looks like Apple can sit back and let their iPod dominate the sales charts once again.
While the release of the MP3 player has been put on pause, their work on the planned entertainment software, Zing, has continued and is expected to release sometime this fall. Zing is purported to organize downloaded music and movies on PCs.
With any luck, this will give Dell more time to finely tune their product. Jumping into an Apple dominated market isn’t something that… anyone has succeeded at. But with 2003’s DJ Ditty failure behind them, perhaps Dell has learned their lesson.
You will have to part with a paltry sum of $20 to own the SlotMusic player. Price alone won’t decide the fate of the SlotMusic player, though. It will hinge, eventually, on the success or failure of SlotMusic cards. The MP3 player comes with batteries and earphones.
The Zune, just like every other Microsoft product is a very functional and feature rich device. Unfortunately, it simply lacks the cool factor that seems to come bundled with every iPod ever shipped. Despite the intense struggles it has faced however, it seems pretty clear at this point that Microsoft is ready to stay the course and is content to scrap it out for the number two position. At least, this is the impression Joe Belfiore gave CNET News in a tell all interview on the future of the Zune. In the interview Belfiore recants his dream of a future where media flows seamlessly from Zune to Xbox or even a Mediaroom IPTV. On the subject of a Zune phone, Belifore didn’t have much to say other “stay tuned”. It’s hard to read much into that, but clearly it’s a lucrative market that could really help push the brand forward if executed properly. For those who haven’t been following the lineup, Microsoft just recently released new Zune hardware. They include a 120 GB hard drive based player to compete with the iPod classic, and an 8 GB flash drive based device to take on the iPod Nano. Both have been priced aggressively to compete with Apple going into the holiday season and in many ways are still a better value. From the interview it also seems apparent that Microsoft will continue to push hard on the value of the Zune as a social experience. Zune owners have the option of sharing playlists with friends and can even create profiles so everyone on the web will always know your favorite songs. The interview doesn’t reveal any new information, but presumably Microsoft must be carefully looking at devices such as the iPhone and iPod Touch. Both represent products they can’t currently compete with under their current lineup.