The Clip is one of my favorite player since its ultra small and has a very rich and flat (as in frequency response) sound to it. From what I have been seeing in the community, the Clip is gaining some respect in the Hi-Fi community and getting paired up with expensive IEMs. That said, demographic is a slightly different crowd and demand a bit more control of their music collection and a finer tuned feature set.
For the features I see important to this user base who are using the Sansa Clip as a high end portable source, here are the important features for this particular niche.
They cost nothing to implement since licenses are free. Few people will use this but many audiophiles are looking for this. The biggest gain here for SanDisk is the nod from the audiophile community.
File Folder Browsing
Many users do not have their tags filled out properly which makes it a nightmare to browse their music collection, but additionally this is one way many people like to keep their music organized.
Better Volume Scale
With higher end IEMs one click on the volume can be a big jump in loudness. A more granular control would be a great improvement.
I see a lot of complaints about how the Clip forwards and reverses though a file. It comes from users with hour-long plus audio files. Full DJ mixes but more importantly audio books. The FF/REV should advance progressively faster (I think this is currently implemented, but not done well.) and it should be smoother and more precise. Some users are trying to advance though 5 hour long files.
This is such an elusive feature- very few firmware design teams have been able to implement this or get it right. In all fairness to these teams, from my understanding this is a difficult feature to implement. There is nothing more annoying than a second or two pause in seamlessly mixed albums and many people seek out this feature with very limited choices.
Although they are a small minority, some users do not hear the same in one ear verses the other. This feature I would put on low priority, but it is still very important in terms of really getting the audio right on the Clip.
Pictured Above: The above photos are of Martin’s portable rig: 2GB Sansa Clip > Custom Cable > Headsix Amp > Sennheiser HD650