Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Feature Request for All Makers of MP3 Players: Now in Bleg Form!

The following is a feature request I just entered at the SanDisk feature suggestion thingy. As I fell off the turnip truck prior to this morning, I fully expect that this feature request will join gazillions like it in a black maw from which no feature request has ever returned.

Naturally, or so I will suggest, I've decided to add the same suggestion to this precious, precious blog, that I might deliver it into an entirely separate maw-of-no-return. What's not worth doing is not worth doing well, I always say.

I throw this suggestion out to the entire universe of companies that make MP3 players because while I do like my Sansa Clip quite a bit, I'd buy any comparable device that had this requested feature.

I've had a Sansa Clip 4GB for a few months now. As I frequently use it while I'm running, I do not like having to unclip it, hold it up, and look at the screen to perform tasks. I'd prefer to use this mental energy on running, which is to say, on the fear of shin splints, cramps, and rabid beasts. That takes focus, people!

It would be fantastic to be able to define key-press shortcuts that quickly hop from wherever I am to FM radio, or a specific playlist, or the GoList, or Play All Music, or whatever.

Example: pressing the home button 3 times in rapid succession takes the device directly to [user-defined destination].

It would even be a step forward if the shortcuts were pre-defined at the time of manufacture and not user-customizable, so that we'd have a selection of eyes-free, feel-only navigation shortcuts.

All of this reminds me: do not turn the Sansa Clip into a "touch screen" device, and this applies to all makes and models of MP3 players. Buttons are fine; buttons are proven; buttons work; the button is a beautiful thing. A touch screen device has its place, but it is all but useless to anyone who wants to use the device in an eyes-free fashion, e.g., runners, cyclists, the seeing-impaired, anyone who doesn't enjoy farting around with a little video screen, etc.

(image source)

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