Like sands through the hourglass… the ongoing soap-like saga of MP3 support in Sony’s new sexy-but-it-only-supports-ATRAC NW-HD series of audio players is finally drawing to a close. Reuters reports that Sony will be releasing a new version – the NW-HD3 – that will support MP3 files out of the box.
The four suckers who bought the ATRAC-only NW-HD1 and NW-HD2 are not totally out in the cold: for the princely sum of US$19, they can have the pleasure of sending their player back to Sony for a brain transplant. DAPReview speculates on what this might involve:
My guess is that they are replacing the ASIC on the player’s mainboard with a new chip, since that has been the limiting factor all along (as I understand it). With an ASIC, the audio decoding is hardware-based, which is more power-efficient that using a software decoder. However it’s limiting as well, since you can’t add new codec support through software (firmware) updates.