Iriver vs. Ipod

I was a little down about my IRiver H10.

Shortly after I bought it, my wife received a free IPod Mini from work as a perk (ah, the life of the software engineer), and I was instantly jealous. Though my IRiver does have a color screen so you can look at pictures, as well as a text-viewing mode -- neither of which are to be had with IPod Mini -- it doesn't really have the "gee-whiz" quality of the IPod.

For one thing, the IPod's firmware is much, much better. It's easy to use, fast, fun to play with -- well, you already know, because chances are, you probably have an IPod. Also, ITunes is a nice piece of interface software. In contrast, the firmware my IRiver came with was awkward and buggy. Worst of all, it didn't come with it's own software package, and wasn't especially transparent to Windows Explorer. This meant I was stuck using Windows Media Player 10. (Which I don't particularly like)

Fortunately, IRiver released a major Firmware upgrade, which makes the useability of the device much better. This is the first time I can think of where a company has in effect improved a product dramatically after it's already being used by consumers who bought it.

Now I'm respectable at least. But I'm still jealous of the IPod Mini.