Comments on: Listen to Books and Newspapers with Audible Advisor has released a Springboard that allows users to listen to audio books with their Visor. The Audible Advisor has 16MB internal flash memory which means it can hold up to 4.5 hours of content. It has an audio jack for the included pair of ear buds. It sells for $130 alone or $50 when signing up for an Audible Listener subscription.
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I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2001 12:08:49 PM #
I think this is a really cool idea....
But not at a 130 bucks....
50 bucks is still pushing this..BUT depending on the subcription and content..Maybe... But if you ask me... it's pretty expesive to hear some talk through your visor.

Is this thing generic or specific?

ganoe @ 7/24/2001 1:09:56 PM #
Can you only use their content on it, or could this be used as a generic MP3 player?

BTW, I looked at's website. How do you do a Dilbert book in audio only??

Dilbert book?
bcombee @ 7/24/2001 1:33:16 PM #
"The Dilbert Principal" isn't a cartoon book -- its a business book that uses examples from the comic strip to show how company mismanage their employees. An audio book of someone just reading the strips would be very annoying, very fast.

Audible specific

JeepBastard @ 7/24/2001 1:15:05 PM #
It's ashame that these devices don't allow you do use them for other purposes. Hopefully they will release information on interfacing with the device...

Anyone know the specs on the handspring phone and wether they have inofrmation to make 3rd party apps?


Only for Springboard Fanatics

Smartmoose @ 7/24/2001 2:19:04 PM #
It's great to see that Audible has introduced a Springboard for Handspring devices, and I'd love to see something that works for Palm, too. But, it had better be improved over this latest offering. In short, if you want Audible content - and don't have to keep everything on a Springboard - there are better options currently.

Both my wife and I use Audible by way of an Iomega HipZip and a Diamond Rio 500. We both have extensive drives, so audio book content is a great alternative to the same old Top-40, commercial-laden radio stations. Plus, both our players can handle MP3s (which, by the looks of the detailed description, the new Springboard cannot). The Audible Lister program does end up being a great value if you listen to audio books frequently (compare the cost of the individual books & subscriptions vs. the monthly service charge).

However, as I said, if you're actually interested in getting the Audible content, there are better options right now. Currently, Audible has an offer where if you sign up for their Audible Listener Lite program (2 books per month), you can get a refurbished Diamond Rio 500 (64 MB plus an exansion slot, compared to the paltry 16 MB of the Springboard) for FREE. Four times more memory, expansion possibilities, plays MP3s, and they toss in a car cassette adapter. It's a far-and-away better deal than paying $50 bucks for the Springboard. I got the refurbished unit for my wife, and it works beautifully. Go the same Portable Players section on the site that Ed mentioned in the main story, and you can find the Rio 500 Free offer (along with the new Springboard).

In short, Audible is great (browse their site to see the what content is available - I recommend the Robin Williams interview series), but unless you are really, really devoted to Springboards, I'd pass on this one and go for something else that is more flexible with digital audio formats, and has more memory.

- Jim

RE: Only for Springboard Fanatics
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2001 7:33:11 PM #
Excellent review, Jim. Stuff like this makes PIC rock!

RE: Only for Springboard Fanatics
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/25/2001 11:30:57 AM #
I went through the exact same analysis but for the Handspring MP3 players. I wanted to get Audible books but I also wanted an MP3 player. When the Rio 500 came out for free with a $13/month subscription, this just made more sense to me than getting a Springboard MP3 player or a Springboard Audible player. Besides, where I use my MP3/Audible player (in the gym and on the road) I would not necessarily want to subject my Handspring Platinum to possible damage.

RE: Only for Springboard Fanatics
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/24/2001 6:29:22 PM #
I'm not so interested in Audible content as I am in
finding a portable solution for playing RealAudio
files. Will this gadget, if bought without the Audible
subscription, play regular RealAudio files? I've bought
a couple of CD's full of lectures, but want to listen
to them while walking, or on the subway, rather than
being tied to the desktop. There's also a lot of
RealAudio lecture material on the Web, which would be
nice to listen to away from my desk, like a cassette

JJ Baker

but what I *really* want

kisrael @ 7/24/2001 3:26:34 PM #
Is some kind of voice synthesis, so I can have downloaded news read to me in the car, or driving directions.

RE: but what I *really* want
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/25/2001 8:36:51 AM #
Dreamer :) Any voice synth we have now is too 'unemotional' or flat to have any true value for e-books. No one would stand listening to 200 page e-book read by a computer synth!

RE: but what I *really* want
ganoe @ 7/25/2001 9:36:55 AM #
He said news and driving directions.

RE: but what I *really* want
kisrael @ 7/25/2001 12:15:39 PM #
You're both right.

I'm really disapointed in voice synth technology; it seems to have advanced very little in the last couple of decades. I think cheap sound sampling technology made it a lesser field of research. (When ever I hear claims like "Jar Jar was the first all-computer major character in a full-length movie" I laugh and laugh; his voice is no more computer generated than yoda's.)

It should be possible to get a palm to do voicesynth, since even a C=64 or Apple II could, but it has the same volume problems as most Palm speaker apps...

Why bother? Get a Clie N710C

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/24/2001 7:58:33 PM #
Has anything you want (at addition cost of $80, you can get a 64 MB MemStick which can store anything you want)

RE: Why bother? Get a Clie N710C
CarlJ @ 7/24/2001 9:17:03 PM #
Got the Clie, what I'd really like to see is an player app for the N710C (I've never used before, but I know a few people who'd buy the 710 if such a thing were released).

RE: Audible in MP3
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/25/2001 9:43:17 AM #
I think Audible is afraid to release their stuff in MP3 format because it might show up all over the Internet for free. I agree with them. Still, it would be nice if I could listen with something I already own and carry around with me.

BTW, the answer to everyone's problem isn't "Buy a Clie/m505/HandEra/whatever" and comments like that are a waste of time.

RE: Why bother? Get a Clie N710C
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/25/2001 9:50:42 AM #

Actually, he might have a point there. What if
Audible releases their eBooks in ATRAC3 format?
Won't buyers then have to load it into Magic
Gate memory sticks, which is supposed to have
copy protection mechanism?

Isn't that sufficient copy protection?

RE: Why bother? Get a Clie N710C
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/26/2001 9:51:37 AM #
So they'll limit their market to only MagicGate enabled devices? SD would do also, if there was the hardware to drive it.

I wouldn't be using anything less than my Sony MZR-900PC to listen anyhow. Optical out to it and if I want to burn it to CD, it's a cakewalk. MiniDisc.

Audible's CEO

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/25/2001 12:11:26 PM #
Interesting that this is announced the same day that Audible's CEO quits and 40% are laid off...

RE: Audible's CEO
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/30/2001 5:57:56 PM #
I don't think the Audible CEO quit. Believe it or not, I think he was downsized :) They have a large cash burn and the CEO takes up a not so insignificant salary. Anyway, the founder stepped back into the CEO role and they have enough cash to last through 2002. rocks. I was never much into cassette audiobooks, but the convenience of the Audible service has converted me.


yunn @ 7/25/2001 2:00:48 PM #
Are Handspring losing it ?

To each his own

PalmPlan @ 7/25/2001 11:45:26 PM #
I believe that every product has its own use. The guy who wanted voice synthesis is hitting home for users who may actually NEED this feature... like for those who are sight-impaired, for instance.

When you look at it from that angle, it might open up many interesting possibilities for PDA makers to tap into this market, which is often overlooked.

"The only constant in life is death"

Not happy with Audible

Brian @ 7/26/2001 4:18:32 AM #
I have had several problems with Audible. They continued to charge my credit card even though my plan was canceled. It took almost 2 months for them to respond to my e-mails and phone calls. When I did speak to a rep. they had no clue what to do. Downloaded files didnt always work. Sometimes it took 3 or 4 tries. Files can take a few hours to download. Questions to tech. support were returned with form letters saying to look on the web site for answers. The web site FAQ is very limited. RUN, dont walk, away from Audible!
RE: Not happy with Audible
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/26/2001 4:27:59 AM #
I had similar problems...

RE: Not happy with Audible
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/26/2001 9:53:34 AM #
We 'hear' you.

Very Happy with Audible
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/26/2001 7:09:58 PM #
Wow. How long ago was this? I just had a problem with them yesterday, and in 5 mins I was on the phone with their CusServRep and it was fixed 4 minutes later. Just a note, I called 2 mins before 8, the time they were to have closed down. Other tech's (with over companies) have told me they could not help me, and to call back the next day.

Other than that problem, which Audible fixed, I have found this .com company to be wonderful, a true gem when it comes to value.

RE: Not happy with Audible in Europe
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/30/2001 8:12:17 AM #
Again, it sucks that this module is only available for the US/Can market. Why? Can't be their content, because most of it is available abroad...

Besides, I'm fed up with their service anyway - they've silently removed content (eg. The Teaching Company - that's what they used to advertise with in the Palm-size PCs days...)

Their four different encodings make matters worse. Depending on which player you have - I bought a a lot of content in the early days in Format 1 which is no longer supported by players.

*Nobody* is responding to e-mail questions and I wouldn't miss them a lot if they went bust...



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