HumanWare has released version 3.2 for their Victor Stream digital book player. V3.2 adds support for additional languages, and various bug fixes. This version also adds the framework to install an optional SoftPak. The SoftPak adds support for the EPUB book
format, the ability to play Audible's Enhanced Audio books, playback of MP4 audio including audio from iTunes, support for MS Word DOCX and the ability to record in MP3 or Wav. Version 3.2 is required for the Softpak, and the SoftPak can be purchased for $49. The Stream Companion software has also been updated, adding the ability to backup and restore SD cards, and more.
Category: Portable Devices
In otherwords, you need to pay extra for the privilege of playing your iTunes music, or using the Epub book standard. Thanks for nothing, Humanware.
roosterloop Wednesday, 26-May-2010 2:00 PM ET:
I was kind of excited, untill I noticed, the softpac, really doesn't allow you to do, much of anything, and the update? I only speek one language, and, I don't notice many buggs in the stuff I use my stream for. The ability to record in mp3 and wave would be nice, but seeing, that the small microphone on the right hand of the device is mono, and the microphone input jack is mono, that doesn't make it worth almost 50 bucks. If humanware added, say, crossfading, or at least, gapless playback, mabey the Elequence software speech synth, and I know, that's a whole other story in licencing, had hardware motifications such as a wi-fi chipset, and charged, mabey 70 bucks for it, and included the above mintioned software upgrades, I would be inclined to, at least think about upgrading. Hmmm, sounds like Humanware is going down the wrong road. The Stream is great, it does do quite a bit, and, it was, in my opinion, after all, the first pocket player, or at least, one of the first, that got this pocket talking book player revolution started. The way I see it is, the stream might not be able to do what other newer book players can do, but, if not for the stream, we probably wouldn't have the better players out that we have now. I wish Humanware, would look at the streams nastalja in this way as well, and not put a bad taste in our mouths, by making upgrades, that don't amount to very much, and then, make us pay for them.
RainParade Wednesday, 26-May-2010 2:45 PM ET:
I'd be totally OK with paying the $50 if this was an upgrade. Upgrade pricing defrays development costs. But this "optional softpack" scheme is basically going to hit every customer with upgrade pricing even when the customer is purchasing a new unit. And since most students and employees are going to need .docx support, that's $50 every time VR purchases a stream for a client. And maybe another $50 two years from now when they release support for the next big thing in file formats. P.S. For a lot of us, $50 is not a nominal fee. $50 is a month's worth of electricity. $50 is a bus pass. $50 is a full working day at the minimum wage. If the fee is nominal to you, Humanware, just drop it.
darknexus Saturday, 29-May-2010 8:08 PM ET:
Agreed. The concept of paid upgrades doesn't bother me so long as the price is reasonable for what you get. This isn't a paid upgrade though, and everyone who wants the features will have to pay. The interesting thing is this moves the stream with full features from the second cheapest book player on the market to the second most expensive behind the Booksense XT. It seems a rather counterproductive move. I don't have a stream anymore as I need an audio player more than a book reader (my cel phone fills the text reading role), but were I to get a book player now the stream would be completely off my list of considerations over this and I'm not the only one I know who feels this way.
0 Wednesday, 09-Jun-2010 5:22 PM ET:
Unlike others, I have no problem paying for the add-on firmware. But I do have problems with the misleading marketing. I would happily pay $150 or more for extra features added in to my Stream. But they really have to be extras, not just hype. The touted epub format is not a valuable extra. The SoftPack only supports unprotected epub, and it appears that only public domain books are available in that format: the same books we can already download for free from Gutenberg, Google and many other sites in text and from bookshare in Daisy. Now give us protected epub (a commercial ebook format) and then I'd say that Humanware is indeed "keeping pace" with "emerging ebook formats." As it is now, humanware wants users to think they are keeping pace, but it is more like saving face to me.
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