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Rock-a-droid

“Your editor’s iRiver H340 music player attracts stares in the
crowded confines of the economy class cabin; it is rather larger
than many newer, more capable devices, contains a rotating disk
drive, and looks like it should have a smokestack as well. But your
editor has continued to nurse this gadget for a simple reason: it
is no longer possible to buy anything else like it. The device is
open, has a reasonable storage capacity, and is able to run
Rockbox. It is, thus, not just running free software; it is far
more functional and usable than any other music player your editor
has ever encountered. These are not advantages to be given up
lightly.

“Why can’t the H340 be replaced? Flash storage is one of the
reasons. A solid state disk makes obvious sense in a portable music
player, but an immediate result of their adoption was a reduction
in the storage capacity of the players. Your editor, who has had a
lot of time to accumulate a music collection, does not want to
select the music he will hear prior to leaving the house. Some time
recently spent in Akihabara shows that capacities are slowly
growing, but there was only one non-iPod device on offer which
matches the H340: a pretty Sony player which does not support
useful formats (e.g. Ogg) and which is certainly difficult to put
new firmware onto. Needless to say, there is no Rockbox port for
that Sony player. In conclusion: there is still nothing out there
as good as the H340, at least for your editor’s strange value of
“good.”

Complete Story