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So where's the Bluetooth A2DP support in MP3 players?

10/04/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Music

As regular readers (all two of you) know, I've been schlepping a large chunk of my music collection backwards and forwards from work on an external laptop drive. It works just fine, but I'd much prefer to play music from it directly without having to connect up to a desktop system.

With the new(ish) Archos multimedia systems, the new iPods, the various high end offering from Cowon and SanDisk, the one shortcoming they all share is a lack of support for wireless headphones. Given that support for Bluetooth's high quality A2DP has been present on PDAs (both Palm and Microsoft's WinCE) for years at this point, I'm really quite surprised that it's never appeared on a device intended solely for music. It can't be a power issue as both the iPod Touch and the Archos 604 include WiFi support but no Bluetooth. Licensing cost? I'd have expected it to be no more than WiFi but so be fair I don't know what the Bluetooth SIG is charging.

On the upside, with more and more cellphones supporting Bluetooth audio -- albeit in the rather crappy headset mode -- A2DP stereo headsets are becoming far more common and cheaper. In addition, there is at least one chipset intended for MP3 players being developed. Sooner or later, someone's going to get around to adding that functionality to the player. I'd definitely prefer it to be sooner though, and I'd prefer it to be one of the major players.


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