The perfect podcast mp3 player, pt 2: The Palm T|X?

Yeah, yeah, I know I was previously touting the Rio Forge as the perfect podcast mp3 player, well i have changed my tune so to speak. I now find that my trusty Palm T|X is actually the best. There are two things that have just been nagging at me after using the Forge for several weeks: AAA battery and non-descript bookmark descriptions. For bookmarks, it just tells you that there is a bookmark, but not what is bookmarked. So if you have several, you just have to guess which one you really want.

I have been agonizing for weeks on getting the perfect podcast mp3 player and here are my “must-have” features:

  1. Rechargeable battery
  2. One-handed operation (no virtual on-screen interface…real buttons!). Need this for use in car while driving.
  3. Bright readable screen
  4. Bookmarks for saving your place in an mp3 AND a description of the bookmark so you know what it is. Few players have this. Creative has, but see #5 below. The iPod (the resume feature but its not true bookmarking), Sandisk, iRiver, etc. all seem to lack this, a major oversight IMHO.
  5. UMS mode so you can copy files using standard file copying apps like Windows Explorer. The Creative Zen V is nearly perfect except you have to copy files using Windows mediaplayer or their special software.
  6. Built-in speaker

I’ve really been looking forward to the upcoming Sandisk Connect with its WiFi capabilities and built-in speaker, but if its like their current line I doubt it will have bookmarking. The Palm T|X does everything the Sandisk does and more, including support for the Napster music subscription service and streaming music playback via WiFi.

Prior to using the Forge, I had been using my Palm T|X with Pocket Tunes (PTunes), but found the access to bookmarks required going into the menu–much too cumbersome for one-handed operation in the car. I had some success with the mOcean Palm app which had an iPod-like UI, but it just doesn’t work all that well.

Well, I was playing with some different UI skins for PTunes and noticed that some had a bookmark button on them. Unfortunately, the skin writers did not support the hard-button navigation that I had seen in other skins. This is a mode that you can navigate around the UI using the 5-way controller. Intrigued, I looked into the skin creation tools and found that I could mod the sample skin to add buttons to display and add bookmarks and also add hard-button nav around the UI. It took me the better part of an evening and it isn’t that pretty, but damn if it doesn’t work real well. It’s an XML-based language and I was able to cobble together the code I needed to get it to work. Perhaps someday I’ll do an entirely new skin, but hell this works and I’m not complaining.

The best part is that I don’t need to carry around another device. Woo Hoo!�

Leave a Reply