The PonoPlayer doesn't want to be the next iPod for the mass market, instead the best, high-resolution audio playback device for audiophiles. It was founded by artist Neil Young, who has critiqued modern audio playback in the past.
Being shown-off at SXSW in Austin, TX this week, the PonoPlayer will have "master-quality digital music at the highest audio fidelity possible," bringing the "true emotion and detail of the music." Unlike mainstream MP3 players whose audio files are often compressed, the PonoPlayer will have larger files carrying more detail and clarity.
"Hearing Pono for the first time is like that first blast of daylight when you leave a movie theatre on a sun-filled day," Young has said in the past. It has been in development for quite some time, as PonoPlayer trademarks have dated back as early as 2012.
The PonoPlayer includes PonoMusic, an online music store offering the highest-resolution digital music from both major labels and prominent independent labels. There's a desktop application to allow customers to download, manage, and sync music. As for the triangular hardware itself, it features 128GB of memory and can store 1000 to 2000 high-resolution digital-music albums.
Young, in conjunction with Ayre Acoustics, will begin offering the PonoPlayer for $399 on Kickstarter beginning 15 March.
"Our goal was to offer the highest quality digital music available from all the major labels with the world’s greatest sounding, user-friendly portable music player," said John Hamm, CEO of PonoMusic. "We've achieved our goal and we are excited to launch our Kickstarter campaign next week to invite music lovers everywhere to join the PonoMusic community and reserve a PonoPlayer for their own enjoyment."