Saturday, January 8, 2011

N900 as a mp3 player revisited

I had an iAudio X5. It was awesome. The device's built-in UI was pretty cool, but just for the hell of it I installed Rockbox on it. I've been a big fan of Rockbox ever since.

Rockbox, for those of you who don't know, is an open source OS, primarily for mp3 players. It allows audio recording, picture and video viewing, basic text editing, and supports a wealth of codecs.

It's by audiophiles, for audiophiles. You can choose to browse songs by file location or through an internal id3 database. It has an equalizer. It supports lossless codecs. It has gapless mp3 playback and crossfading.

What does this have to do with the Nokia N900? Someone ported it to Maemo. It should work on the N800 too, though I haven't tested it. It's this relatively new concept called RaaA, or 'Rockbox as an Application'. There's a team working on an Android app as we speak. The Maemo app has only been in development a few weeks and it's already fully functional as far as I know.

Gapless playback on the N900. Consistent album art detection. An id3 database that looks for new albums upon each startup without slowing your device to a crawl! Let that all sink in...the N900 has finally arrived as a proper mp3 player.

It's not much to look at--it was originally designed for old small-screened mp3 players after all, but the while-playing screens are really customizable (though it's not necessarily easy, I still haven't managed to make a theme that actually works). The menus aren't that finger-friendly, but you can increase their font size enough to make it at least usable without a stylus or keyboard. Too bad Rockbox uses a custom font format, and the only known convertor for it can't seem to handle fonts bigger than 34pt.

The current theme is a little wonky too, but give it time, there'll be a ton to choose from soon enough.

Made my day anyway.


btw this post was entirely written on and posted from my N900.

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