A custom firmware project has launched on Google Code by asteroid.gforums.de, with the intention of creating a new custom Parrot Asteroid firmware. Hopefully this will gain some traction, but I fear it might struggle to get off the ground as Parrot won’t release details of the .plf update file.  I would love to be proved wrong though!

I do like the Asteroid, but there are a number of shortcomings with it, even with the latest 1.5 software.  My main bugbears are:

  • It forces the use of the Gracenote database. This means that it has to index all of the MP3 tracks and store information in a database.  This limits the amount you can store to about 20,000 files, and even then when just 1 more file is added – it isn’t available to select for about 2 hours, very limiting.  I would prefer to be able to disable the database and indexing feature and just use real time disk browsing.
  • The UI needs more work – it is not intuitive and is frustrating to use at times.
  • The unit does not resume playback automatically.
  • The hot/cold start up times are bizarre.
  • No navigation
  • Limited to Android 1.5

I and others have made these requests or variations of to Parrot, yet feedback is next to non-existent, and firmware releases are few and far between and take a long time to appear from Parrot.  This is why I am hoping the community will be able to better Parrot’s current offering of firmware and provide what is an ‘OK’ unit into a very good device.

Despite these shortcomings I can see the unit to have good potential – the amp in the radio is good and the build quality is pretty decent.  The internet radio works pretty well (once the UI has been figured out), allowing me to stream some Spanish radio stations in the car via my mobile (HTC Desire with CM7).  Of course it is patchy when on the move dependant on the data network signal, but on the whole for my recent half lap of the M25 it worked well, with only a few cut outs.  It is a shame to see this device limited by software, and a manufacturer which is too arogant to listen to the users on the forums.

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  1. […] I previously blogged about the announcement of a new Google Code custom firmware project for the Parrot Asteroid, not […]

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