What about a Pine digital audio player?
#1
My old Sansa Clip finally bit the dust, and in looking for a replacement, it seems there is a dearth of decent, *uncomplicated* audio players on the market, unless you're willing to make some compromises.

Sony still makes awesome DACs, but their Walkman line is now Android-based, whcih is the opposite of what I want. I have plenty of devices to run apps. I just want a compact music player.

There's decent (enough) *hardware*, but the software for all of it sucks. After spending time looking at all my options on Amazon, it's obvious 99% of the market uses one of two firmwares, both of which suffer from some serious limitations that are entirely caused by bad code, not bad hardware.

This Chinese brand (SWOFY) clip MP3 player I picked up has the potential to be a lot better with relatively minor improvements to the firmware. The DAC isn't super great, but it's good enough unless you use big headphones and like bass-heavy music.

Maybe there's less of a market than I'm thinking here, but maybe Pine can consider developing an audio player with open-source firmware. If it's focused on audio-only, there's no need for expensive components like touchscreens and color displays; a monochrome OLED and physical buttons are preferable. Not only does this save money, it means better battery life. A good DAC is really what matters most, along with Bluetooth (as an audio output device) and USB-C (because micro-USB is not a resilient hardware connector and inevitably fails with enough use).

It's also something to consider for anyone who's concerned about tech privacy. A dumb music player can't track your location and phone home with details unique to your person, after all.
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#2
Since the chips are so cheap, this might have more potential if it were slightly less dumb.  Add a microphone (Already common on dumb players for voice recording), and WiFi(Basically free on modern chips), and you have a walkie-talkie.

You also have a remote control, since you have Bluetooth, and a clock/timer, and a pager, possibly a private offline voice assistant (Since on-chip AI is a thing now),  possibly a game console(A capsense analog touchpad area is basically free, or you could use an accelerometer and do tilt based games), etc.

You could also have it connect *to* a phone and show notifications and stuff, to let you leave your phone in a backpack more often.


I do think a color screen would be worth it though.
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#3
(10-02-2022, 11:21 AM)ClairelyClaire Wrote: Maybe there's less of a market than I'm thinking here, but maybe Pine can consider developing an audio player with open-source firmware. If it's focused on audio-only, there's no need for expensive components like touchscreens and color displays; a monochrome OLED and physical buttons are preferable. Not only does this save money, it means better battery life. A good DAC is really what matters most, along with Bluetooth (as an audio output device) and USB-C (because micro-USB is not a resilient hardware connector and inevitably fails with enough use).

It's also something to consider for anyone who's concerned about tech privacy. A dumb music player can't track your location and phone home with details unique to your person, after all.

I am VERY interested in this too!
But I also want/need a good quality physical audio output connector/plug for my Shure ear plugs.

I used to have iRiver music players (iFP-XYZ and later the Clix) and thought that was awesome Cool
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#4
(01-13-2023, 05:31 PM)EternityForest Wrote: Since the chips are so cheap, this might have more potential if it were slightly less dumb.  Add a microphone (Already common on dumb players for voice recording), and WiFi(Basically free on modern chips), and you have a walkie-talkie.

You also have a remote control, since you have Bluetooth, and a clock/timer, and a pager, possibly a private offline voice assistant (Since on-chip AI is a thing now),  possibly a game console(A capsense analog touchpad area is basically free, or you could use an accelerometer and do tilt based games), etc.

You could also have it connect *to* a phone and show notifications and stuff, to let you leave your phone in a backpack more often.


I do think a color screen would be worth it though.

This is an interesting idea, but is more of a PDA (or iPod Touch) than a dedicated audio player. I'm specifically interested in a quality audio player that doesn't have unnecessary bells and whistles. Adding voice recording makes sense, but I wouldn't want wifi - it's just another exploitable attack vector on a network, and goes back to the whole "can it track me" thing. The more features you add to the OS, the more it affects battery life, and the more resources are used on non-audio stuff.

There's really nothing left in the audio player market - there's one Chinese brand high-end player that uses subpar firmware, and all of Sony's high-end devices run Android now, which isn't an option for me. There are reputable brands selling less expensive players, but it seems like nobody cares about firmware anymore. Example - There's a company called Oakcastle which sells a mini clip audio player on Amazon, but the firmware is no different from other similar players. SanDisk's firmware on any of its full-color display players sucks and is horribly slow and laggy. My first gen Sansa Clip's OLED finally bit the dust last year, hence my search for alternatives.

I've been using a Chinese brand clip audio player that's decent enough (long battery life, buttons work well) but lacks some pretty key features, all of which could be addressed with better firmware. Bluetooth has to be manually enabled every time the player turns off or goes to sleep. The onboard Bluetooth audio profile doesn't support whatever extended features my car's audio system expects. It uses FAT32, which means files are displayed in the order they're added to the filesystem, not in alphabetical order - and most FAT sorter apps are flaky in Windows 10.

The firmware is really key, which is why I think the Pine team might be a great fit for developing a player with non-sucky firmware.
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#5
Maybe something running rockbox? I agree to avoid it becoming an iPod touch/PDA. Keep the controls simple for navigating music. The only thing WiFi would be nifty for is wireless syncing and maybe spotify or some other streaming service.
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