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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

A better audio device

I’ve been following (fellow ex-Gang member) Jason Calacanis on building a better iPod.  This concept strikes home for me because I’m the kind of “power-user” geek that doesn’t own an iPod because it isn’t flexible enough for me.  In the past I looked seriously into other products and decided that nothing out there would handle the things I wanted.

Jason says his key features are:

1. Open source software.
2. Wifi
3. No DRM
4. Removeable media (i.e. Compact Flash)
5. Preloaded with three shows from the top 200 podcasts

My key features are:

  1. Open source software.  Because I think only a community of audio geeks can create something flexible enough for me.
  2. Great tagging support.  I am an “album oriented rock” kind of guy.  I want my music to play back in the right order; and more elusively, I want my albums to be sorted in the right order.  After all, Magical Mystery Tour came out after Sgt. Pepper’s.  Not the other way around.  Tags (specifically ALBUMSORT) can solve this problem.
  3. Full synchronization between the device and a desktop player.  I want playlists, ratings, tags, tracks, etc., to flow between the two.  Of course, this means that there needs to be “don’t sync” and “smart sync” options for tracks / albums / tags so the desktop player isn’t constantly flooding the device.
  4. Recording function.  Podcasts on the go.
  5. Bookmarking podcasts.  It should remember your position in a track even if you play something else and then go back to it.

What I don’t care about:

  1. DRM.  Let there be DRM.  I see that Dave Winer is out if there is any DRM, but I don’t get why DRM kills the project.  I honestly don’t care because I’ll never use it.  The iPod doesn’t force you to use DRM.  The iTunes store does.  I know everyone wants a DRM-free online purchasing experience.  I am not voting for DRM and I don’t desire it, but I don’t see it as a player issue.

Nice to haves:

  1. Wifi.  Yes, it would be cool for synchronization through Wifi.  Sharing podcasts through Wifi cool too.  A must?  Nah.
  2. Removable media.  This would be cool.  I imagine Jason is talking about additional storage (so, it comes with x Gigs, but you can add additional storage with a CF card).
  3. Preloaded with podcasts is a cool marketing idea. 
  4. It is also a PDA phone.  OK, kind of a joke, but I really only want one device.  This begs the question: is new hardware necessary?  How about just a killer mobile app running on WM5?  All storage on removable media (not cheap, but dropping in price all the time).

Anyway, this is really fun stuff.  I just love gadgets.

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1 Comment »

    Expert Texture » Blog Archive » The xPod wrote @ December 8th, 2006 at 7:13 pm

[…] About « A better audio device […]

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