Thomson apparently brought the new mp3hd format for music the other day. “HD” is apparently the thing we need to have included when a new term is announced. Why does the world need another lossless music format?
It seems they’ve introduced a crafty dual-format thing where they stuff MPEG-4 SLS lossless encoded data in a new id3 XHD3 tag within the mp3 and then stuff a “regular” mp3 as the normal data in there. This way it is supposed to still work fine with existing and older mp3 players. Of course the total size of all id3v2 tags is limited to 256MB, which could be a limiting factor for it.
As usual, you can find a thriving discussion on this topic on hydrogenaudio.
Rockbox should of course be possible to at first use the mp3 parts and if this truly is an existing established lossless codec there’s a chance it might be able to play that part in the future.
I have one of them mp3 capable mobile phones and I have a 4GB NAND flash inserted in it that is packed with music I like. Yet I never end up using it as a music player.
I see people everywhere use their phones for music and I repeatedly read and hear the soon coming death of the portable music player being predicted not far away by opinion-expressing know-it-allers.
My phone plays mp3 files just fine, but there are several reasons why I don’t use it for that. The primary one being that it gets a lousy battery run-time if I do that, and if I’d run down the battery all the way when listening to music then how would I be able to use the phone for regular voice? With a separate (Rockbox) device I can listen to music until the last drop of power goes out without hampering my communication abilities.
In my particular case, my phone’s lack of a proper standard USB port and it’s lack of anything but “full speed” (and yes full speed is less than high speed and is a lot slower than it sounds) when connecting it using the custom cable to my Linux box are two more reasons. Not to mention that it has this “database-only” approach to the music which I really don’t like – but yeah, I can learn to live with it.
Besides, it’ll be a while longer until I can hack my phone to run Rockbox and thus work the way I want it. Let’s hope Android or OpenMoko or similar efforts actually make it possible one day.
I find it noteworthy that the FSF runs a campaign they call playogg in which they detail the importance and stuff why people should avoid non-free formats and instead use Ogg Vorbis in preference to mp3 for example.
Yet, they document a number of alternatives for Mac users, for Windows users etc on the front page, but there’s not a single word of advice for people with portable music players. Then again, it is very hard for people to find free software alternatives to their portable music players and FSF being so very anti-closed source this makes me wonder why there’s no mention of Rockbox, ipodlinux or even sansalinux to be found?
The only place with this info that I could find when following links from their site, was about three clicks away on xiph.org’s PortablePlayers wiki page but the majority of the stuff mentioned there is non-free…!
It’s time again for a check and analysis of the download trends of the build.rockbox.org web site, with comparisons with how things were at my previous count from October 2007.
During this month, 112034 downloads were counted, which is almost a 10% increase since october’s 102127 – and as you’ll see below almost the entire increase was basically due to a boosted interest in the Sansa E200. There’s been no new port offered for download during this time, there are still 26 packages. The downloads were distributed as follows (the position changes are within () and the previous period’s download counts are within ):
- (+1) sansae200 27325 
- (-1) ipodvideo 21453 
- (+1) ipodvideo64mb 13904 
- (-1) ipodnano 13419 
- (+7) sansac200 3490 
- (-) gigabeatf 3410 
- (+1) ipodcolor 3316 
- (-3) h300 3306 
- (+2) ipod4gray 3249 
- (-1) ipodmini2g 3087 
- (-4) iaudiox5 2933 
- (-2) h120 2521 
- (+1) ipod3g 1993 
- (-1) ipodmini1g 1713 
- (+1) h10_5gb 1458 
- (-1) h10 1413 
- (-) ipod1g2g 1246 
- (-) player 730 
- (-) recorder 558 
- (-) iaudiom5 380 
- (+1) h100 328 
- (-1) recorder8mb 292 
- (+1) fmrecorder 189 
- (-1) recorderv2 175 
- (-) ondiofm 96 
- (-) ondiosp 50 
Of course, if we count the two different ipod video builds combined, it alone is 35357 downloads (31.6%)! Apart from the E200 climb, I think the only significant change in the table above is the other SanDisk player in the selection, the Sansa C200 series which climed 7 positions due to its 23% download increase.
The top-5 downloads are all portalplayer based, and here’s a more complete look at how the builds are split up on main architectures (october’s shares within parentheses):
- portalplayer 97066 downloads 86.6% (83.6%)
- coldfire 9468 downloads 8.45% (10.4%)
- samsung 3410 downloads 3.0% (3.4%)
- sh1 2533 downloads 1.9% (2.5%)
The harddrive based builds are still more popular, but the flash ones are gaining:
- HDD models 67654 downloads 60.4% (65.7%)
- flash models 44380 downloads 39.6% (34.5%)
The top-8 downloads are for targets featuring color LCDs, and thy certainly are popular when checking download spread on target LCD types:
- Color 92494 downloads (82.6%)
- Greyscale 17450 downloads (15.6%)
- Monocrome 1360 downloads (1.2%)
- Charcell 730 downloads (0.7%)
Like last time, this doesnâ€™t include any custom builds, builds from download.rockbox.org nor release builds from www.rockbox.org. Take all this as indications, not absolute facts.