Snooping around Cowon’s Korean website I found a new rehash of the V5 PMP, the “Smart Study” V5S. It seems this version is specifically made for the fiercely competitive high-pressure world of Korean education, loaded with lots of gimmicky study apps, dictionaries, and the like. This PMP will probably never see the light of day outside of South Korea, but the V5S’ firmware might be worth a second glance.
One of the main issues of the V5 (as described in our V5 review) is it’s tacky, counterintuitive, backwards user interface. Indirectly, Cowon seem to admit they botched the V5 interface, since the V5S comes with an UI that resembles the Android-powered D3 more than it’s hardware-identical sibling, the old V5. The V5S’ main screen is much tidier than the V5′s, with real icons that actually seem to do something, and main functions don’t seem to be hidden in subcategories as well.
How is this relevant, since the V5S is very likely to be sold in Korea only? Well, maybe the V5S firmware could be put on the V5, since both their hardwares seems to be exactly the same. If it’s not locked down in some way, it might work right away – if not, some hacker might certainly find an easy way to fix that. Of course the V5 is anything but a popular player, so community support is minimal – but who knows, it’s worth a try in any case. Unfortunately my V5 is the only Cowon that ever bricked, so I can’t try the V5S firmware on it.
Update: Rafa got this firmware working on a regular V5. Only the main screen changed, everything else is the same – besides the additional Korean study apps. Read the installation instructions on iAudiophile.