As some of you may know, there is a project called Rockbox which reverse engineers various MP3 players such as iPod’s, E200’s (V1), iRiver’s, Toshiba’s etc. and allows the loading of an open source jukebox firmware on them.
This project is completely user supported and financed, both in time by the part time developers, and in financial means by those of us who support them financially.
Rockbox has become somewhat of a cult favorite amongst some of us due to it’s large format support, and features found nowhere else.
It is also known for it’s ability to allow the user to modify the look and feel of their player to fit their tastes.
The E200 V1’s have been one of the most successful ports to date, due to the market saturation of the E200 V1’s and it’s reliance on the old portaplayer chipset that was commonly used at the time.
Some of the neat features to be had on a “rockboxed” E200 is the use of a sleep timer, firmware support for SDHC MicroSD cards, the ability to play native .mp4 videos, Ogg Vorbis and FLAC support, etc. In fact there is quite a market for older refurbished V1 E200’s simply for their ability to put Rockbox on them.
Since the new hardware refresh, the E200 V2’s and all subsequent players (such as the Fuze and View) are unable to utilize this fine program.
Since Sandisk is primarily a hardware company then I can see no reason why they would not want to get their hardware into as many hands as possible.
To this end, how difficult would it be to provide the Rockbox team with the information they would need to be able to code their firmware to port on the new V2 chipset and architecture.
Sandisk is not making any money off of firmware updates. What then prevents the sandisk team from cooperating fully with the Rockbox dev’s and giving them any information relavent to these new players.
It would be nice if Sandisk could “donate” to the cause in giving them detailed information regarding their newer generation of products, and perhaps a real life View or Fuze as well.
Sandisk could be touted as publically supporting the Rocbox initiative, and sales of your Views, Fuze’s and E200’s would grow quite a bit. All it takes is a couple of samples and some documentation you guys already have for your own Dev’s to use on “official” updates.
This could further strengthen your sales and your position in the digital music market.
Also you could leverage the information that the Rockbox dev’s find out to help you in your own Sansa firmware development.
I completely see this as a win-win scenario for both the Rockbox team and Sandisk. Since Sandisk is not beholden to their “software” group like the iPod folks are, I don’t see what Sandisk has to lose. Sansa’s could be known as the player that nearly supports Rockbox off the shelf.
This can only lead to increased sales of your product, and better yet, increased sales of your Memory as well, as you get more Sansa’s in peoples hands.
Think about it…The only thing Sandisk has to provide is information…