By Collin Allen

Can Open-source Outdo the iPod?

November 5, 2005

Wired is running an article on Neuros Audio, a company whose main product is an open-source portable multimedia device aiming for the iPod. The Neuros 442 is a very nice piece of hardware, including a 3.6” LCD, video input for recording, a 40 GB hard drive, and a dual core processor. However, Neuros is leaving the interface up to the open-source community. People are already at work customizing the media player, but it officially launches in January, according to Wired.

I think the idea of allowing the community to design the software how they please is a great idea, and it’s a huge departure from the hacked PSP and Linux-on-iPod options available today. I’m still very doubtful that it will ever come close to outdoing the iPod, as most consumers don’t care how the device works, they just care that it does so without hassle. Unless Neuros can come up with a way to package the software in easy upgrades, they won’t get far. Expecting users to download and flash firmware, compile software, or perform other technically involved processes is asking an awful lot of the general population. It’s the kind of thing I wouldn’t mind experimenting with, but not at $399.