The Null Device

iRiver MTP U-turn

iRiver, the Korean MP3 player manufacturer started off making players that were USB mass storage devices; in other words, when plugged into a computer, they looked like a hard disk you could copy MP3 files to, which the device could then play. A while ago, seemingly persuaded by Microsoft, they abandoned this and replaced it with something called MTP, a proprietary Microsoft protocol for transferring audio files, which officially only works with Windows Media Player (sorry, Maccies and Penguinheads!). Now they seem to have realised the error of their ways (perhaps spurred on by other player makers, such as iAudio, proudly advertising that their devices look like standard USB hard drives that work with anything), and released a firmware update which lets users choose which USB protocol their player uses; for some of their players, at least.

There are 3 comments on "iRiver MTP U-turn":

Posted by: Andrew Mon May 29 23:17:25 2006

I recently bought a SanDisk branded USB key type player. On XP it works in the media player mode and in Windows 2k it works as if it was a USB key.

Interestingly, when in USB key mode, you cannot see the files saved while in media player mode. The player finds files copied onto it in either mode, but it is confusing and rather pointless.

The key has an option to force the player into USB key mode if desired.

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org/ Tue May 30 09:05:17 2006

I imagine there are DRM provisions in the MTP spec to nominally hide files from non-MTP access, much as the iPod does.

Mind you, given that it has to put everything on a FAT file system, they're probably just hidden files in a hidden directory (as is the case with iPods). They could, in theory, be encrypted, though that might reduce battery life.

Posted by: kstop Tue May 30 14:37:42 2006

They did something similar with their 7xx series flash-based players (2-3 years or so ago?). They shipped with some proprietary bollix that meant using their software (for which there was a Mac version) and putting up with crude attempts at DRM, but they had a patch available that turned the player into a USB mass storage device.

Chances are the idea is that releasing the players with DRM appeases the angry giants, but the patch is available for those who care.

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