"Pono, the Neil Young-endorsed Kickstarter project, is drawing more and more pledges. Now past the $2 million mark (with an expected goal of $800K), this project aims to create a audiophile friendly FLAC player along with its ecosystem (and by that they mean their own music store and syncing application).
The device itself features 2 audio outputs, one 'specially designed for headphones' and the other 'specifically designed for listening on your home audio system'. The player is controlled by an LCD touchscreen, and its triangular 'Toblerone' shape makes it easy to hold it upright with one hand or to lay it flat on surfaces. The player, which has 64GB of internal memory, comes together with a 64GB microSD card.
The board and its components, as well as a 'pre-prototype' model, are pictured in the project's Kickstarter page.
I was wondering the same thing ... are they going to pull a Sony. My guess is not. As long as you can manually load it with FLAC files, it's good, and it gives people not interested in ripping or loading a simple music store where they can legally buy good quality tunes. I think the price is a bit steep and the design is a bit lacking, but the idea is good. Of course, are effectively 128 GB units so maybe the price isn't completely ridiculous.
It's interesting to see the what artists have have sold out of their allocation of 'signature series' units. Those laser etched units are nice looking too.
Overall, I'm hoping someone does this for half the price. I think there are already some FLAC capable players that have a 'pretty good' quality and it wouldn't take that much more to push them up to 'great'. Perhaps if this becomes popular enough we'll get some Android phone available specializing in audiophile quality sound.