On ebay there’s a fancy S3C244-based board named mini 2440 with a 3.5″ touch LCD attached on sale for 85 USD. 64MB ram, 400MHz CPU, a nand flash and more. Lots of stuff for the money.
The guys in the lyre project seem to have adopted this as yet another hardware platform to attempt to run Rockbox on. After their Atmel AT91SAM target was ditched, they went the ARMopendous route and now this seems to have entered. This third hardware platform is called the Lyre prototype 2…
You should note that this Mini 2440 board has no batteries or anything and thus is not really meant to be a portable device in this shape.
“Bob” seems to have initial Rockbox code running on this device, and well-established Rockbox hackers JdGordon and domonoky have both ordered their own kits so the future looks bright.
Some owners of the Sansa Clip player from SanDisk noticed that it does playback of all songs with a minor pitch. Due to a flawed HW setup they don’t do a proper 44,100 Hz but instead 43,791 Hz (0.993 times the target value) or something like that. According to some sources this problem might be fixed in the Sansa Fuze players now.
Bugs aren’t really so surprising, perhaps what is surprising is that this bug has been around now for almost two years. To make matters worse, SanDisk now decided that due to them making cheap players people shouldn’t expect them to be very good sound quality wise and therefore they can simply not fix the problems:
due to trade-off decisions that were made in engineering these products to deliver superior consumer value at what we believe are extremely attractive price points, our sound fidelity isn’t perfect. We have re-evaluated the possibility of reducing the pitch variation and due to the engineering trade-offs the decision was made to stay with the current design. Very few listeners, however, have noticed or complained about it as an issue in actual practice. For those who can detect sound differences with their naked ears during actual use and not via frequency analysis, our products may not be the best choice for them.
Clip owners out there now put their hope even more on Rockbox for Clip.
I’ve previously blogged about the initiative to build an own open hardware platform that can run Rockbox fine, and just today I noticed their new site is up and alive at:
The hardware has changed quite significantly since the last blog entry of mine, and they’re now using a LPC3130 from NXP instead of the Atmel they had before, and I believe they’ve also changed codec/DAC etc. Me knowingly, Rockbox does not yet run on this newly produced board.
I should probably also add that this board is of course still quite far from being portable and there’s no news or info anywhere on how or if you can actually get one of these yourself yet.
Proving my point from before that everything wants to be “HD” these days, I read the Zune HD specs that come out recently and in that I found out that it claims to support HD radio. Amusingly enough, it does not claim mp3hd support which probably would’ve made the buzzword bingo crowds go wild. We can always hope for the next model! 🙂
So what is HD radio? The site says:
Instead of sending out one analog signal, stations send out a bundled signal â€“ both analog and digital. Because it is digital, textual data such as traffic, stock info and song titles can be sent out, as well.
From what I understand, pretty much the same way RDS is already done.
The technology is not even new. The site lists news items from 2006 and yet I’ve never heard of it before. They claim FM stations get “CD-quality sound” and (as I find pretty funny) AM stations get “FM-quality sound”. What is “CD-quality” in this context I wonder? I find no mention or details on what exact codecs or bitrates etc they use. Wikipedia’s page to the rescue: it says you get approximately 100-150 kbps of a lossy “proprietary iBiquity HDC codec” which claims to be able to provide “CD quality as low as 64 kbit/s”. Somehow I think that sounds a little too good to be true. According to wikipedia HD radio beats DAB in audio quality.
And to top it all of, the FAQ describes what the HD means:
It does not mean either hybrid digital or high definition, it is simply the branding language for this new technology.
Personally I’ll just rather go IP all the way and stream my music/radio/video over that. I think media or content-specific transfer mediums/concepts of this kind are technologies of the past. For this reason, I don’t think DAB+ will have much of a future either.
Maurus Cuelenaere has been very busy lately with his work on porting Rockbox to the Onda VX747 player. This 3″ LCD 4GB/8GB flash player isn’t just touch screen and very ipod touch-looking, it is also equipped with the Ingenic Jz4732 chipset. This is particularly interesting because this baby boasts an XBurst processor, which has a MIPS core clocked at 240 to 400MHz.
In other words: this is the first MIPS-based target Rockbox is being made for. Maurus has custom code running on it, we have rockboxdev.sh adjusted to build a MIPS toolchain and there seem to be a handful of other Chinese PMP players using this chip family so this is a good chance to get a whole bunch of new targets at once. Just join the fun!
Get all the latests news on development for this target and chipset family in this forum thread.
Normally I would link to the company’s official page about a player but this image will take you to a gadget blog site, simply because I cannot find any official site or page for this device!
I happened to read an article on idg.se (in Swedish) that talks about the people behind the company Tonium and their portable music device called “Pacemaker“.
The description on the site says: “the worldâ€™s first pocket-size DJ-system â€“ a superior portable music player enabling the playing of two tracks simultaneously, equipped with an extensive range of professional audio manipulation features allowing for creative mixing between two independent channels. Any mix created can be saved for legal sharing. ”
Having been involved and hacked on portable music players for a few years by now, I can’t but to wonder exactly who this is targeted for and what they are supposed to do with it? I do like the pictures on their site showing business-style persons using it, but why on earth would any ordinary human want to mix songs while on the go?
The IDG article says (translation by me) that (talking about Jonas Norberg the CEO) “it was in January 2005 when he realized that the computing power required to playback video should suffice to play back two simultaneous audio streams“. Yeah – and that was all we had to know in order to quickly see that this guy certainly is not an engineer… 🙂
Of course, there’s also this possibility than I’m just an old grumpy whiner.