Suggestion: PINE64 "MP3" Player?
#1
Music 
Hi all. I'm new to this forum. I own a PineTime with InfiniTime, and it's rather nice - though the LCD seems to be slowly delaminating itself from the digitizer... I should probably make a separate post about that.

Here's my suggestion: why not make a PINE64 "MP3" player? Not limited to only MP3, of course.

I'm thinking of a combination of the Apple iPod Video, the Microsoft Zune Flash, and the Sansa Clip+.
(Yes, I've used a Zune. Gawk if you must, but it was rather nice - until I found out that it had no Unicode support.)

As to why I chose those media players, here are a "few" prerequisites for a media player, for me personally:
  • The ability to run Rockbox, and all that comes with it (i.e. the vast array of audio codec support) - or at least an intuitive OS + UI that shares some similarity with Rockbox: i.e. a playlist-centric mindset, ability to copy-paste media from a PC, navigation of media by folder, etc.
  • A powerful enough CPU, or perhaps a coprocessor, such that MP4 (or other video) playback would be possible - a la the Zune
  • (Anything beyond MPEG-1/2 support would have to be added to Rockbox - I believe the reason is that no MP3 player supported by Rockbox has a powerful enough CPU for that kind of decoding)
  • A compact form factor - something that could fit in my pocket, and that isn't as tall as, say, a PinePhone  ;)
  • An intuitive form of UI navigation, a la the iPod's "click wheel" or the Zune's "Zune Pad" - not sure about the legality of such a thing, though (concerning patents)
  • (Personally, I'd rather not use a touchscreen - hence why I don't just buy a PinePhone and turn off all the comms...)
  • Expandable storage, a la the Sansa Clip+ - i.e. internal eMMC + (micro)SD card, etc.
  • A headphone jack, of course!

Bluetooth would be nice, too, though not a prerequisite for me. So would Wi-Fi for syncing, or perhaps for streaming - I don't do the latter, but I'm sure many others do.
I'm sure most people would also expect a high-quality DAC, but honestly, I can't hear a difference.

In terms of the body of such a media player, something like a Zune would be nice - a plastic front with a brushed metal back; something I don't have to put in a case...

Basically, my dream MP3 player is just a Zune Flash with Rockbox and a microSD card slot.

Such a thing may be niche, but PINE64 made an eInk tablet, for gosh sake...  ;)

Maybe I'm just looking for a smaller PinePhone - something like the Zune HD. Or an early iPod touch, in layman's terms.

Hm, am I forgetting anything? Well, this post is already rather long, so...
Tell me what you think!
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#2
I have also wanted to see such a thing, as well as a PDA. I have been waiting with baited breath for the PineComm - but this is probably years away or will come out in some weird form.

I feel as if the easiest way forwards would be essentially the OG A64 PinePhone with the SMS ripped out, less RAM (maybe 1GB) and a smaller/simpler/cheaper touch display. Such a thing would also be running out-of-the-box, take use of the existing software efforts, would be a low-risk hardware spin that could make use of the up and coming PinePhone extensions.

Maybe the 'PinePod' is too on the nose? I think another candidate for a name could be 'PineLite', or even the original 'PineComm' name.
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#3
(10-30-2021, 09:44 AM)unilock Wrote: Basically, my dream MP3 player is just a Zune Flash with Rockbox and a microSD card slot.

How about the Samsung R0? Rockbox can be used on it and it has a microSD card slot. I've had one for about 10 years and still use it from time to time, it never failed me.

The kind of device you are describing sounds like something outdated that I don't think would find much of an audience nowadays, given that similar devices have existed for a long time already. Spreading out a little and going in a direction like the PineComm might be something different, but what you seem to look for sounds to me exactly like the Samsung R0 and maybe more similar devices from that era.
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#4
At this point a nice MP3 player could be made with the same risc-V CPU the pinecil uses. I would be happy with a replacement for my old Samsung YP-U3 with the great pop-out minimal USB-A jack and OLED display.
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#5
(10-31-2021, 03:23 AM)kqlnut Wrote: How about the Samsung R0? Rockbox can be used on it and it has a microSD card slot. I've had one for about 10 years and still use it from time to time, it never failed me.

Wow, that's pretty much exactly what I was looking for; it's like you read my mind! Or my post.
The fact that it runs Linux is pretty neat, too. And it comes in pink!
You wouldn't happen to know where I could find one, would you? There's a listing on eBay, but it's a bit expensive and ships from Russia. (I'm in the U.S.)

(10-31-2021, 03:23 AM)kqlnut Wrote: The kind of device you are describing sounds like something outdated that I don't think would find much of an audience nowadays, given that similar devices have existed for a long time already.

Thinking back on it, I agree; what I described would be rather antiquated these days, and maybe even more niche that I thought. Streaming and touchscreens do seem to be the future.
On that note, I'd probably use my phone as my primary MP3 player, if I didn't have the arbitrary requirement of keeping my music/video library entirely offline and on a separate device. I don't think my library would fit in 128GB, anyway - not that 256GB microSD cards are particularly cheap, of course. (UPDATE: actually, they are!?)

(10-31-2021, 12:19 AM)barray Wrote: I have also wanted to see such a thing, as well as a PDA. I have been waiting with baited breath for the PineComm - but this is probably years away or will come out in some weird form.

(10-31-2021, 03:23 AM)kqlnut Wrote: Spreading out a little and going in a direction like the PineComm might be something different...

Yes, the PineCom does seem promising in this regard, though it seems to be more focused on IoT development that anything. Maybe it'll be more appealing once its features are properly fleshed out.
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#6
(10-31-2021, 10:48 AM)biketool Wrote: At this point a nice MP3 player could be made with the same risc-V CPU the pinecil uses. I would be happy with a replacement for my old Samsung YP-U3 with the great pop-out minimal USB-A jack and OLED display.

A RISC-V media player? Doesn't look like the architecture supports video decoding, at least not natively. Maybe we could go the BeagleV route and use a coprocessor (or whatever it is they use).
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#7
(10-31-2021, 12:16 PM)unilock Wrote: Wow, that's pretty much exactly what I was looking for; it's like you read my mind! Or my post.
The fact that it runs Linux is pretty neat, too. And it comes in pink!
You wouldn't happen to know where I could find one, would you? There's a listing on eBay, but it's a bit expensive and ships from Russia. (I'm in the U.S.)

Glad it suits your needs! Unfortunately I don't know where to get one currently. I bought mine at some retailer when it was still in production. I saw some more listings on eBay, but they are all very expensive (maybe it gained some late popularity?). I can only suggest to keep checking eBay or other marketplaces. You could also look for the similar R1 model.
Be advised though if you do get one: Last time I tried I couldn't get the device to boot up in the alternative firmware's safe mode to access the internal storage. It's no issue for me since I use an SD card and I had already flashed the Rockbox firmware a long time ago. But the problem seems to be either with my machine or with newer USB ports in general since it worked on older machines. I guess this is something that would be solvable with some tinkering though.
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#8
(10-31-2021, 02:13 PM)kqlnut Wrote: Glad it suits your needs! Unfortunately I don't know where to get one currently. I bought mine at some retailer when it was still in production. I saw some more listings on eBay, but they are all very expensive (maybe it gained some late popularity?). I can only suggest to keep checking eBay or other marketplaces. You could also look for the similar R1 model.

Ah, that's a shame. I'll keep an eye out for any new listings, though I have my doubts that I'll see another one any time soon. I'll keep in mind the issue you mentioned, too; having both the original firmware and Rockbox working is important to me, as one could gather from my original post.
I'd look into the YP-R1, if only it weren't seemingly more rare than the R0. :,)

Maybe I should get a SanDisk Sansa Connect... that seems like an adequately bizarre MP3 player. (Wi-Fi + click wheel = ???)

If anyone's interested, I've concocted a spreadsheet of a few Rockbox-compatible MP3 players that meet (most of) the criteria I'd outlined in my first post.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1...sp=sharing
The spreadsheet includes info on the CPU, RAM, battery, screen, video playback capabilities, and expandable storage of each player.
I'm thinking of creating an up-to-date comparison table of every Rockbox-supported media player to date, but maybe I should save that until after I finish my spreadsheet of every model of Chromebook released to date.
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#9
Rockbox community has approached Pine64 about a year ago and asked for an open source portable DAP (Digital Audio Player).

We have proposed back a month ago using BES2300 as the DAP SoC and RockBox community seems cool feet.

Once clear up the ongoing projects on hand, for sure interest to start the open source DAP using BES2300 and also a dev board.
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#10
(11-02-2021, 05:31 PM)tllim Wrote: Rockbox community has approached Pine64 about a year ago and asked for an open source portable DAP (Digital Audio Player).

We have proposed back a month ago using BES2300 as the DAP SoC and RockBox community seems cool feet.

Oh, that's exciting! Here's hoping everything works out in that regard.
Looking it up online, it seems the BES2300 is a "Bluetooth Audio Platform" - would it support a 3.5mm aux port (headphone jack) as well?
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