There’s a music-playing device in the making called Sleevenote. This device has a focus on albums, with a display that’s a square. The square panel displays the cover of the album that’s playing via Bluetooth or through the device’s headphone jack.
Sleevenote isn’t yet a finalized product – it’s not available in physical form. But it’s not just a concept design. Sleevenote was created by recording artist and graphic designer Tom Vek, software developer Chris Hipgrave, and mechanical engineer Antoni Pakowski. This is a “boutique tech” project.
The device would more than likely run a version of Android, and it’d connect with Spotify, Apple Music, bandcamp, and direct transfer (with support for MP3 AAC, FLAC, AIFF, and WAV) first. The main idea here is creating a music player that’s as focused on album art as it is on keeping digital music as portable as possible.
The device, as conceptualized right now, works with physical buttons – dedicated playback buttons – to “keep the user interface away from the artwork.” The concept design has a durable injection moulded case with “comfortable rounded edges.” The size of the device is bigger than a traditional CD jewel case, “nearly the size of a 7″ record.”
While the device works with physical playback controls, it also works with a touchscreen. The player has 250GB data storage, USB-C port for power, data, and digital audio, and a 3.5mm analog audio port. This device has its own dedicated DAC, can connect with Wi-fi (for internet, for music services), as well as Bluetooth.
UPDATE: As noted by Engadget, the first Sleevenote package will include a Wolfson Class W headphone amplifier and Cirrus HQ DAC.
The first round of devices appear in a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo where the price for a single unit is at least £533 GBP (approximately $700 USD). Now, if only we could use the 7.5-inch (1:1 aspect ratio) display as a tablet-like device for games, we’d have the most interesting tablet in years!