Feature Request: “Timed Auto Pause” (for audiobooks primarily).
I listen to audiobooks a lot when I go to sleep, and I keep an ageing “iAudio U2” for this purpose alone. It has a feature where you can play 1 track, it pauses and waits for you to press play to play next track and if I don’t press play within a certain time the device turns itself off. As I might fall a sleep in 5 minutes or 45 minutes, I don’t need to worry about setting an “Auto Off timer” and have the hassle of finding where I actually fell asleep. It will always be in the last track played (i.e. the last 5 minutes), so I can quickly just go backward 1 track and continue listening. Normally I go back 2 tracks, because I don’t remember much from 5-10 minutes before sleep.
If you could have the same feature implemented on your Sansa players it would be awesome, but I have an even better idea:
Instead of relying on tracks (which not always come in 5 minute chunks), why not just make it a “Timed Auto Pause” where the device pauses every X minutes, waiting a brief time for you to press play to continue or otherwise shut down (obviously rembering the position). When you start it next time, the back button should be able to take you back X minutes for each press, so that you easily can continue from where you were really awake and remember. Preferably, auto-bookmarking should be used (as well as manual bookmarking) for audiobooks, so you can use the mp3 player for other things and still easily get back to your audiobook later.
So I see this feature as an option where you could have the following settings:
“Timed Auto Pause”: Enable/Disable
“Play Time”: X minutes (until pause)
“Back Time:” X minutes (i.e. for rewinding with back button single press X minutes)
“Shutdown Time”: X seconds (or just use some global setting for shutdown time)
… or just do it like my ageing iAudio U2, which has “Single Track” play option, which does what I described at the top.
P.S. I have a Clip+ for music alone, as I find it hard to use for audiobooks in other aspect as well, most particularly with regards to lack of bookmarking. Even though there is some function to remember where you stopped an audiobook it does not work well with my mp3s which are labelled by CD number and track. I can only get it to work if I merge everything to one single mp3-file. So I think improvements are in order for audiobooks in general, if Zip is like Clip+.