I love music. Don’t you?
Over the years I’ve used quite a few music players. Cassettes, Compact Discs, MP3 CDs, and finally Solid State Memory Based Players (both dedicated and non-dedicated such as smart phones).
Nowadays, Most people rather get all (or most) of their entertainment from one device – namely, their phone.
But I don’t subscribe to that. One of the biggest reasons against it is that it hogs up the limited battery life and renders the phone dead faster.
Also, it’s more difficult to take a phone for a run rather than a more portable and lighter dedicated media player.
Sadly, most of the world doesn’t seem to share my opinion, and so the variety of mp3/music players that used to be quite big is shrinking by the day, and these days they’re much tougher to find, and even more expensive than they used to be.
Simple math: less options, higher cost.
So, what is the best and optimal music player I would like to see:
1. Replaceable & Rechargeable battery: The vast majority of current players are using in-built lithium-ion (not even lithium-polymer like the new smartphones) rechargeable batteries. This allows for cheaper manufacturing but also means 1-3 years life time till the battery dies with no easy way to replace it. I would like to see a replaceable battery such as in the samsung phones, or even better, a AA or AAA battery operated player. Cowon made one of the best ones, the G3, but it had limited memory capacity and no expansion option.
2. Memory Expansion: most cheap players came with a built in capacity of solid state flash memory, and no option to add on to that. But some came with a micro-sd slot for expansion. The Sandisk Sansa series (Fuze, Clip, Zip, and Fuze+) all included a microSDHC slot that allowed up to 32GB (and even 64GB with microSDXC cards) extra capacity.
3. Standard data/power connector: namely, no proprietary crap. Sandisk realized that they were making a mistake with the proprietary port in the old fuze/view and switched to microUSB port with their newer generation. Too bad they destroyed the new player chances by switching to touch interface.
4. Tactile wheel interface: Yes, ipod did it quite well to begin with, but I believe that sandisk took that idea and greatly improved on it. They introduced the scroll wheel with the e200 series, through the view model and finally the old fuze. Sadly it didn’t stay further. I suspect they were threatened to be slapped with a lawsuit by some big company or a patent troll. <cough>apple<cough>
5. More Sophisticated yet intuitive software (Operating System): Most players use some form of free and very basic operating system. But these days, the cpus allow for so much more than before, that the programmers can allow themselves to put more serious work into the players. Things like style learning – the player learns your style and suggest the best songs for you from the selection available on the player. With a wireless network option the player can get lyrics from the net and display them for the song playing.
These are only five points. There are possible many more. I’m sure one could scrounge up a design or open a kickstarter project, but the question is, how many people would really like that to open, enough to put some money on it?