Neil Young’s PonoMusic And PonoPlayer To Bring Audiophile-Quality Music To The Masses On Kickstarter Soon

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What's a man to do after a thrilling career in music? Invent an MP3 player is an unlikely guess, but it's the winning selection in today's Q&A. Neil Young is a name well recognized around the music universe, and at SXSW this week, he is introducing the PonoMusic streaming store as well as the $399 PonoPlayer. Aside from being awkwardly named, the entire notion feels around 10 years behind the times. We're well beyond the concept of a dedicated music player; Apple doesn't even cite iPod sales in its quarterly reports now given that the iPhone and iPad have taken over where the dedicated iPod once ruled.


Seemingly built for audiophiles, the PonoPlayer has 128GB of storage and it supports memory cards, though the design leaves a bit to be desired. Plus, how on Earth will anyone be convinced to tote around a dedicated MP3 player? Thousands of options very similar to this already exist. On the streaming front, even more good fortune will be needed, as we've seen services such as Napster and Rhapsody struggle to compete with the giants of iTunes and Spotify.

The PonoPlayer should launch on Kickstarter soon, and Neil may very well raise enough based on name recognition alone. Such is the benefit of only needing funding to serve a niche, but it's going to be a tough sell for many who have become quite fond of simply using their phone as their music player.
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scolaner replied on Mon, Mar 10 2014 12:14 PM

Didn't "The Office" do an entire story arc about a badly-conceived line of triangular mobile devices? (Is that where he got the idea?)

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sevags replied on Mon, Mar 10 2014 1:10 PM

Neil Young has so much money why is he not funding this project himself? Or get any of his rich and famous buddies to invest money. Why does he need the general public to back this odd concept...

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HanyangXu replied on Mon, Mar 10 2014 2:12 PM

I can definitely see this appealing to a niche market though. I can't think of any mp3 players (or even phones) on the market that have 128gb of storage + expandable. Maybe it's intended for people who want to carry around a bunch of FLAC files?

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sevags replied on Mon, Mar 10 2014 6:16 PM

Hanyang; the Apple iPod Classic comes in 160gb and has for a long time now and the Microsoft Zune offered 120gb. So 128gb is nothing special at all especially since larger capacities did not help the iPod or the Zune in the market. On top of that Sandisk now has 128gb microSD cards available (though pricey) which will be compatible with most phones released here on out with the first being the Galaxy S5 I believe. There must be something else to this Pono that we aren't being told yet such as higher quality DACS, or because of the 2 audio jack inputs maybe it is easier to use with DJing equipment? There better be something more to this than an unimpressive capacity. 

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Florine replied on Tue, Mar 11 2014 10:20 PM

triangular mobile devices? This is very interesting, I can definitely see this appealing to a niche market though.

Before, I was in line to buy a beautiful shell in order to protect my phone etui nexus 5 and housse nokia lumia 520

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