Reading over the hardware section of the [Ogg] Vorbis wiki, I’ve discovered that iRiver is due to release some new portable Ogg players this month. Sure, there are other Ogg players available, but I haven’t found any with native OSX support — until now. In addition to the Mac support, these new portables have some other nifty features:
- Uses 1 AA battery, for 40 hrs claimed battery life
- FM radio with timer-based recordings
- Firmware upgradable
So, why am I jazzed about Oggs? Well, in addition to their higher sound quality at a given bitrate, Oggs also have the advantage of being patent-free — patent-encumbered mp3s could have their license changed at any time. And, since none of my own music is digitized yet, I’m not locked into a format for music already on my hard drive.
So far, the Craft 2 (as they call it) looks like a decent player. But, I’m a bit torn by its flash-based storage. Though the product isn’t widely available at online retailers yet, it is listed in iRiver’s online store and the 1 GB model has a list price of $400 (gulp). For that price I could get a 20 GB iPod!
Maybe I wouldn’t mind paying such a premium for flash if there were distinct benefits over a hard drive-based player. Normally, flash-based players would be less prone to skipping (since they can’t skip) but, from what I’ve heard, hard drive-based players are rugged enough that they hardly skip in the first place. Really, it looks like battery life would be its main benefit. And I’m just not sure whether that's enough to justify its price. Or… are there any other flash benefits of which I’m not aware?