AfterDawn: Tech news

PocketPC as an MP3 player?

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 02 Aug 2000 11:49

I've been testing PocketPC devices few weeks now and of course I've been very interested to see how their much-hyped multimedia features work.
For you who don't already know, PocketPC is basically Microsoft Windows CE v3.0 operating system and those PDAs that use this OS are just referred as "PocketPCs". My recent device is HP548, a PDA that has 12-bit color screen, 32MB RAM and all the required applications installed in ROM (so these don't take any RAM from you).

This is just a brief summary of the multimedia features for now, I will write a full article by end of this month

Ok, PocketPC comes with Windows Media Player installed in ROM. Good -- player is nice-looking, supports skins, has basic playlist features, plays MP3s and WMAs, etc.. But why 'media' instead of 'music' -- this one does NOT allow you to watch any movies or videoclips.

HP548 has very good headphones with the package -- what else you can except when you pay over 500 dollars? Luckily, regular headphone plug is here -- no more Compaq's propietary plugs, etc.. Sound is very clear, volume level goes up enough, everything is ok with this one. Oh yeah, WMP plays also VBR encoded MP3s.

Battery life is appx. 8hours. After that you have to recharge the LiION battery in the cradle. 8hours meaning of course continuous MP3 playing (no backlight on). Device has USB cradle and regular serial cable. Serial cable is SSSLL-OOWWW.. And USB is also suprisingly slow.. Bit annoying.

Transferring MP3s (or whatever) to the device is pretty simple task -- just dock the device into the cradle and copy files to mobile device's "my docs" directory. One very annoying thing happens next -- you realize that even the device has, let's say, 25megs free RAM, it allows you to use only like 12megs of it for your MP3s. To fix this issue (Microsoft again.. ) you have to manually go to your memory settings and change the allocated memory to allow more of the RAM to be available for storage instead of for the applications.

Ok, audio works.. But one hyper irritating thing there is -- chaning between applications causes playback to skip appx. 1sec everytime you change for a next application.

How about video? I installed PocketTV (yep, you can d/l from AfterDawn too) to PDA and made few small clips of video to test the playback. Picture was _very_ good, but only at 4-7fps.. Audio played all the time, but watching the video wasn't very fun..

And of course, as a final note.. I'm not very happy to see only 32megs in the device that costs over 500 dollars and is advertised mostly with its multimedia features.. Same thing as in most of the MP3 players -- I really don't care about MP3s if I can't fit more audio in my pocket than I can fit into one CD.

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