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Your Dream MP3 Player

Jul 20 2004, 11:42am EST | by

Your Dream MP3 Player
 
 

A couple of weeks ago we asked you what your dream mp3 player would be. The question was triggered by korean MP3 manufacturer Vandisori who asked me what I would think their next MP3 Player should be like. Below now the most interesting suggestion we received so far from I4U Readers. Thanks to all who sent us their ideas.

The most notable feature requests are:

  • braille capability for the sightless or hard of sight
  • An AM-Tuner for people who want to listen to talk radio
  • Memory card-slots in Flash based MP3 Players
  • A BoomBox with a Hard-drive based MP3 Player
  • Small Players with huge Hard-drives
  • MP3 Players on AA batteries
  • Wrist MP3 player with wireless or bluetooth Headset
You still can send in your Dream MP3 Player feature requests, we will bring another update in the future on this topic.
Below are the full descriptions of Dream MP3 Players we received that contain lots of interesting details.

See also our MP3 Player Reviews.

Boombox Party MP3 Player by Tom Jamison

Sometimes I don't just want a personal mp3 player, I actually want a boombox. Why doesn't someone offer a boombox with a big 'ol hard drive, so I don't have to take along a big stack of CD's? There must be over 100 boomboxes on the market, and they are all the same; CD, tape, radio.
I want to be able to play party music from mp3s at the beach house, ski chalet, camping or wherever. Have it able to load mp3s from the computer, of course. Bonus if I can rip CD's to mp3 right on the box, double bonus if I can transfer files to/from the personal mp3 player and the boombox. Now your talking!
Hell, this is such a great idea, if no one else is going to, maybe I'll have to start my own company to do this!

Braille MP3 Player by celerityfm

I think they should make an mp3 player that has braille capability for the sightless or hard of sight. I googled up some braille appliances that play mp3s but I didn't see any dedicated, throw in your pocket mp3 players that had a braille readout or braille controls.
 

The Ultimate Sports MP3 Player by Very Variable

I primarily use my mp3 player to work-out. So the popular hard drive-based players are either too bulky, too heavy, or, most importantly, just too skip- and damage-prone for rigorous fitness activities. Thus, I want to design the ideal flash-based player for active use. However, the flash-based players currently out there geared for fitness lack several key features.

The first problem is memory format. Most flash-based players (like the Nike PSA) have a fixed amount of flash memory. With flash card technology, that's just an an unnecessary limitation. Why would I want fixed storage when virtually unlimited storage is possible with just the addition of a card port? However, even among card-based players there is an incredible paucity of those that support CompactFlash. Even though this is the flash format of choice for the immensely popular Canon camera line, and is the cheapest flash format per MB, very, very few players (with the exception of the hard-to-find Nex line) support it. This puzzles me quite a bit. I own a Canon camera, and I want an flash MP3 player. Why would I want to invest in two different flash card formats? It seems that a manufacturer that shrewdly marketed the lower cost and ubiquity of CF for existing cams could take advantage of this.

CF is larger than other card formats, but it's still so small and light that its form factor really does not add bulk. Plus, it is now available in higher capacities (like 1 GB) than any other flash format, rivaling some hard drive players.

The second feature I would want in my player is playlist support. Especially when I'm listening to music for exercise, the songs I pick hugely impact my level of motivation and performance. I want to be able to choose on the fly the subset of tunes that fits the mood of the moment. No flash-based player I know of support m3u or other playlist formats. This is a HUGE drawback. On my Nex II player, I have to create new folders with songs dropped in the order I want to hear them every time I go work out. It's a pain. Plus, with flash capacities growing, I want to maintain a set organizational strategy for my music (like folders by artist and album) and not reorganize music every time I listen. The built-in song-flagging pseudo-playlist feature some of these players have is not a substitute for a standard, reusable playlist.

This is a must.

The third feature I want my player to have is a quality digital FM tuner. Most gyms have TVs set up in front of exercise equipment (like stationary bikes, treadmills, etc.), broadcasting the audio portion on local FM bands. I want to be able enjoy this feature of my gym, as well listen to local stations from time to time. Another must for any gymrat.

Finally, the player must be ergonomically designed for use by someone who is exercising while using the player. That is, it should, foremost, come with a comfortable, washable, neoprene *armband* case that holds the player snugly. Tunebelt makes some great generic versions of such a case, but they are not tailored for particular players (iPod being an exception). Second, the player itself must have

*large* controls, clearly discriminable by touch, and inuitively positioned so one can reach them on their arm while working out. A tiny stick-like player is useless while working out, as is something bouncing around on a lanyard around your neck. The case should have appropriate cutouts for access, and ideally the display should be visible while the player is on your arm (for example, the display could be visible through a cut-out on the bicep side of the arm, so you can see what's playing by looking at your arm). And let's dispense with the illusion that a belt clip serves any useful purpose for real world use.

These are my four must-have features: CF-based, playlist support, radio receiver, and activity-oriented ergonomics. The Nex IA comes close, but it lacks playlist support, and is not designed for armband use (for one, the headphone jack is on the underside of the player, making it just awkward).

Any other features would be gravy. Of course long battery life would be appreciated. Of course a customizable EQ (like the Nex features) would be great. Of course multi-format support (Ogg, esp.) would be nice. Of course FM transmission for in-car use would be great. And of course voice recording would be utterly useless.

Perhaps the one "cutting edge" feature that would be most useful for a fitness-oriented player would be bluetooth support for cordless headphones (and wireless PC synching). But that might be cost prohibitive and power-consuming. On the other hand, this is a "dream" player.

 

Talk Radio MP3 Player by Bradley Davidson

I want a hard drive (20gig minimum - no wimpy 1 to 4 gigger) based mp3 player that has an AM Radio - NOT an FM Radio (AM/FM ok).

Why doesn't any mp3 player maker realize that the reason we are carrying around our tunes is because FM RADIO SUCKS! When I want a break from music, I want to listen to talk radio. FM doesn't offer anything more than consolidated [music] industry pablum anymore...

The absolute best (fantasy?) suggestion I can think of is a hard drive based player that uses the Palm OS. "That" would be an ipod killer.
 

Allround HDD MP3 Player on AA Battery by Micheal Williamsson

My needs are minimal and are almost met already; I don't know whether it's technically infeasible, but my BIGGEST wish is for a small, HDD based player (using the new 1 inch drives) with, say, 5GB of storage, MP3/OGG/WMA coding, USB2.0, FM tuner and. . . you ready? . . . running on AA batteries (even if 2 are necessary to get a full days---8-12 hours---usage); I travel allot, mostly in the third world; I don't want to have to carry a brick of a recharger and many places I go there's no place to plug one in anyway; but EVERYWHERE in the world, especially the third world, AA batteries are ubiquitous; you can hike into a hill tribe village in northern Thailand and be a full day's travels from the nearest town and there'll be a small village "store" with someone selling cigarettes, and fuel, and instant noodles and fresh AA batteries!  So, there are plenty of flash-drive based players running on AA's (and getting 20+ hours per battery), is the power draw on a mini HDD significantly higher than for flash???

 

Wrist MP3 Player with wireless headset by Rahat Khan

How about a cool wrist wearable high memory mp3 player like the Casio Mp3 watch or the Laks Mp3 watch but, with the addition of a lightweight wireless(possibly bluetooth capable) sports headset. The design of the watch can be futuristic looking like one of those Nike watches. Can even come coupled with a tv tuner and a QVGA screen. (frankly after seeing todays announcement from Toshiba about their new fuel cell, I guess anything can be possible)

 

Full Featured MP3 Player by martinrd

Ogg support is a must
* FLAC support a plus (see Rio Karma)
* FM radio
* Line-in (for encoding, see next item)
* direct encoding to OGG, NOT MP3 (ogg enconding is faster, so less processing power is needed, and is license free, so the player will be cheaper if no MP3 encodign is available, and OGG is more efficient in terms of size and quality)
* voice recording to speex (free, very efficient codec for voice)
* replaceble rechargeable external batteries is a must (so you can have charged spares anytime anywhere,
AA or AAA batteries support does the trick for this previous item)
* SD/MMC support
* USB host is a cool feature (seen in Muzio JM-200) that could replace SD/MMC support
* USB Mass Storage Device compatibility is a must too (for covering non-Windows users)
* Ethernet, and RCA line-out support is cool (like Rio Karma)
* at least 1 GB for non-HD-based devices
* Lyrics support is a plus
* Fast read/write (10 MByte/sec at least is good)
* USB 2.0 a must (obviously needed for last item)

Ok, if you fit all these items in a reasonably small device, you definately are going to sell ME one! ;-)



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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Luigi Lugmayr (Google) is the founding chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 15 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology magazine.
Luigi can be contacted directly at ml@i4u.com.

 

 

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