Archive Index (1999-2012) | 2013-current at | About  

Linux PMP boasts impressive playback times

Mar 10, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

Korean consumer electronics vendor Cowon has released a Linux source code tree for its A2 PMP (portable media player). The A2 features a 1.8-inch, 20GB or 30GB hard drive, a 4-inch wide-aspect LCD, and a large 4300mAh battery for impressive claimed media playback times.

(Click for larger view of Cowon A2)

A2 with case
(Click to enlarge)

Cowon claims 10 hours of video or 18 hours of music playback time. Despite its large battery, the A2 weighs only 10 ounces (298 grams), or about two ounces more than Nokia's petite, drive-less 770 Internet tablet.

Cowon's sourcecode download suggests that the A2 is based on a PMP reference design from Ingenient. The download includes a 2.6.5 Linux kernel source code tree and an Ingenient BSP (board-support package) for what appears to be TI's OMAP2420, a dual-core SoC (system-on-chip) with impressive graphics capabilities.

A2 ports
(Click to enlarge)

Hardware features touted by Cowon include:

  • 1.8-inch hard disk, either 20GB or 30GB, with FAT32 filesystem
  • USB 2.0 device port emulates USB storage device for PC connectivity
  • USB host port (OTG, or on-the-go) supports photo loading directly from digital cameras
  • 4-inch, 480×272 pixel, 16K color widescreen TFT with 0.183mm pixel pitch
  • Supports NTSC/PAL video
  • 32mW + 32mW amplifier (with 16-Ohm headphones) for “real live and fine sound”
  • 48kHz, 448kbps DAC
  • 44.1kHz, 192kbps ADC
  • Claimed 20Hz-20kHz frequency range and 95dB signal-to-noise ratio
  • Line- and mic-level audio input ports
  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • FM stereo radio
  • 4300mAh rechareable lithium-ion battery with 5-hour recharge time
  • “Leather material” case
  • Necklace-style earphones
  • Optional wired remote control (pictured below)
  • 5.25 x 3.1 x 0.9 inches (133 x 78 x 22mm)
  • 10 ounces (298 gm)

Optional remote
(Click to enlarge)

Listed software features include:

  • Layered, customizable user interface
  • Broad codec support
    • MP3, Ogg, WMA, WAV audio formats
    • AVI, ASF, WMV video formats
    • JPEG, BMP, PNG graphics files
  • MPEG-1 layer 3 (MP3) audio recording
  • ASF (MPEG4) video recording
  • Playlist creation tools
  • Full ID3 tag support
  • SMI video subtitles
  • “LDB” Lyric display feature
  • Various audio postprocessing tools
  • Text viewer with international language support
  • Bundled PC format conversion and multimedia archival software
  • Alarm clock
  • Upgradable firmware


The Cowon A2 appears to be widely available at a variety of online retailers, at prices between $350 and $400.

Another PMP that seems to be based on an Ingenient-supplied Linux reference design or BSP is the IUbi PMP2010, a slightly larger device with a 100GB, 2.5-inch hard drive.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

Comments are closed.