While most people now rely on their smartphone for music, there's recently been steady trickle of portable HD audio players that provide the option of a little more sonic clarity. This is Pioneer's new take on the idea, crafted from a slab of aluminium and stuffed with an Android OS.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the XDP-100R is machined from a solid piece of alminum, while inside there are two circuit boards -- one for the regular processor to run the OS, another for the audio components in order to "eliminate the effects of digital noise," according to Pioneer.
Elsewhere, there's a 4.7-inch 720p display, 32GB of internal storage, and two MicroSD slots, each each supporting cards with up to 128GB of storage. The Android-running device will support lossless FLAC, MQA, and ALAC, as well as DSD audio up to 11.2MHz being played from all that memory. All of that hardware occupies a frame measuring 13 by 7.6 by 1.3 centimetres wide -- so you'd notice it in your pocket.
It's hard not to compare it to Sony's reborn Walkman, the NW-ZX2, which seems similar in terms of spec and size. However, the Wall Street Journal does report that Pioneer's device will cost around $US500 when it goes on sale in Japan later this month -- which compare favourably to $US1,200 for the Sony. There's currently no word on Australian availability, but it certainly sounds like a more affordable option when it does arrive.
If, of course, an HD audio player is really worth it. Your ears can only ear so much, after all.