There are a few problems with in-vehicle accessories such as player docks and other player specific accessories. Let’s say that you bought an iPod and had a dock professionally installed to look and work seamlessly with your car’s stereo or after market head unit. Then you finally see all the cool features and devices you are missing outside of the fascist iPod ecosystem. Now you have to tear out that incredibly slick install you just paid top dollar for.
IME has developed and answer to this problem with the IME Dock. The modular dock system will give you a clean install and allow you to upgrade your device across different brands. Each dock will power and supply audio and video line out to your factory stereo or after market head unit.
Currently docks for Microsoft Zune, SanDisk Sansa, and iPod. But IME also has future plans for other players and mobile phones. An interesting thing that I found out while talking with IME was that the Zune dock system has been selling the most preorders. Go Zune!
Soon to be released the dock system will sell for $250 and include one snap on dock for the brand of your choice. When you are ready to change brands a new dock will only cost you around $90. I will be checking one of these out as soon as they are released. This will be a very useful accessory for my massive collection of MP3 players.
As of now, I don’t think it is documented that the View has the ability to output video to your TV. But as I was poking around in the options I found settings for NTSC and PAL TV out specs. So I grabbed the soldering iron and a few old cables and started hacking away. Making a video cable was fairly easy with a soldering iron and some patience.
Unlike many other MP3 players, the video out is contained in the dock of the View. Other players usually use a 4-pin A/V jack that plugs into the headphone jack (Zen Vision:M & Zune). I was able to find the video and two audio channels which are true line out. We are in the process of finding out what all of the rest of the dock pins do in this hardware hack forum thread. A list of pins can be found there.
Video out looked really nice on the TV and even fast forwarded nicely as you can see in the video below. Navigation is not show on the screen and will only show video or photo slideshows when played.
Check below for photos and video.
In January SanDisk introduced their first PMP, the Sansa View, which was expected to be released in the first quarter of this year along with the Express and the Connect. The View’s 4” screen, 8GB of memory, decent codec support, and full-sized SD slot all for $300 looked to create a valid position for the player in the video market.
Five months later, a SanDisk representative declares that a review of the View will push its arrival into 2008 as “the market is changing fast and furious and we want to shift our efforts to develop a PMP that will meet the needs of the market versus pushing out the wrong product. So we’re taking another look.”
Primarily being a flash memory supplier, and the world’s largest at that, SanDisk will have an immense vigilance of the sensitivity that the internal and expansion memories will bring to the product. Perhaps SanDisk is simply waiting the year out, not wanting to become one of the many companies to rush into the portable video market at the present time and risk their product being overlooked. Least of all, they will avoid sacrificing the ergonomic value of the View by implementing a noticeable feature merely to draw attention in the overcrowded market.
Although it is never enjoyable to wait for a product to be released, we can be glad that when the Sansa View finally hits the shelves next year, we are more likely to see a product that has reached its potential.
I had the pleasure of checking out three new players being added to the Sansa lineup. We knew about the two players from a leak on SanDisk’s site, but they did manage to keep one of their stars under wraps.
The Sansa Connect will be a flash-based player with WiFi and will retail for around $250. Initially, the player will sport 4GB of memory with the ability to add 2GB via microSD. The Connect is fairly slim and about the size of a business card. The 2.2” screen is similar to the e200, but looked a bit clearer. The scroll wheel is improved over the e200 and is very smooth and fluid.
Check out the video after the jump.