CNET has posted its thoughts on Rockbox, an open source firmware replacement. Rockbox supports a variety of different players from Archos, iRiver, Apple, and iAudio. The firmware is updated on a daily basis and developed by everyday users of the devices. The CNET article looks at the Rockbox iPod firmware particularly.
While the menus aren’t as clean and polished as Apple’s firmware, the Rockbox firmware adds plenty of desirable upgrades. Audio playback features are upgraded with gapless playback support and additional format support for OGG and FLAC. There are also plenty of audio tweaking options as well, including bass, treble, balance, etc. A 5-band parametric equalizer tops off the audio tweaking features for users who want detailed controls over their audio.
While the Rockbox firmware does add many features, it does suffer from a few problems such as reduced battery life due to lack of advanced power management features that are on Apple’s own firmware and the ability to play DRM protected content has been omitted. The firmware is a work in progress with several developers tackling the project and Rockbox says it won’t be long until a new an improved version is available for download. Rockbox’s firmware remains freely available.