Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cowon S9 Revisited. 2.10 Firmware

Cowon's S9 media player just received it's official (non-beta) 2.10 firmware update. You can find and download it HERE. There are 14 new features and 12 noted improvements. The new features include:

1) Added subtitle synchronization in Movie mode.
2) Added graphic buttons in Movie mode (for subtitle synchronization, playback speed control, and JetEffect).
3) Added support for DivX3 codec in Movie mode.
4) Added images to sliding album art when you tap screen toward right or left, even if the files don't have album art in vertical Music mode.
5) Added pitch correction for playback speed control in Music mode.
6) Added support for Audible (can play's audiobooks)
7) Added pitch correction function when adjust playback speed of video files.
8) Added Widgets.
9) Added support for WMV7, WMV8 codec and ASF files.
10) Added full screen mode in TV-out mode. (press Vol - button)
11) Added support for Unicode (UTF-8) and color tags for subtitles.
12) Added a function to assign wallpaper pictures from within the picture mode.
13) Added the function of hiding controller in picture viewer (tap the screen).
14) Added option of entering a passkey(PIN code) to connect Bluetooth.Improved features:

a) Improved battery life when high resolution (over 480*272) files are played in Movie mode. Continuous Playback hours depend on files but it is improved up to 75%. (ex> 6hours -> 10 hours 30 minutes)
b) Improved the Widget GUI.
c) Fixed the error that some images were discolored in Picture mode.
d) Fixed an exit button in calculator. e ) Improved function of playing next or previous songs by dragging right or left on the screen in Music mode.
f) Improved Browser scrolling.
g) Fixed to delete music files only in music folder.
h) Improved method of recognizing ID3 Tags in Music library mode.
i) Improved play of irregular MP3 files that didn't play properly.
j) Fixed the error that some lyrics made by LDB 2.0 had stopped working.
k) Improved support of some movie files that were not supported.
l) Fixed the error that document viewer skips a line in text irregularly.
It's an impressive list. The S9 was great when it first came out. Now it's even better. Some of the tricks it can do are simply amazing. Consider pitch control in both the Music and Video apps (5 and 7 above). Once enabled (from the settings menu) you can speed up or slow down movies or music, and the audio will not change pitch. With pitch control OFF, speeding up will raise the pitch of audio tracks and slowing down will lower the pitch. Other players have speed control, but the pitch change means audio becomes distorted. The S9 solves that problem (almost). With held notes in either music or videos there is a tremolo effect introduced when the speed increases. It's an artifact of the technique used to maintain pitch. This is less noticeable with spoken dialog and quick paced music. Pitch control does not work when using bluetooth headphones.

I'll add that since it first came out the S9 has supported custom flash-based user created replacements for the OEM applications. This means that any complaint I may have had about the UI or individual applications has disappeared thanks to the creative minds of S9 users.

You can download the new firmware by clicking THIS LINK. Highly recommended.

If you don't already own a Cowon S9, but have been considering it. Stop waiting. The S9 is shaping up to be THE best pocket media player of the year.



  1. Great timing :) My P2 was stolen yesterday, so I was going to ask you whether I should buy Cowon S9 or wait for P3. Now, the decision looks pretty simple. Thanks, Nippur

  2. My pleasure, Nippur. The P3 won't be a bad device, but it's smaller non-OLED screen lowers it's value in my eyes.

  3. I'm torn between the two. I love my P2 but it could use a better screen. My only concerns for the S9 are the processing ability (I want to play them flash games) and serviceability. I don't want to have to send the thing halfway around the world to get it fixed.

  4. I like listening to audio books. Which MP3 player would you say is best for this and why?

  5. The S9 now has audiobook support. The Zune has it. The iPods have it. Audiobooks at best need a bookmarking feature, and all the players I know of that can play them have bookmarking. Honestly Audiobook play is not a feature I've evaluated these devices for. You might ask your question in a forum live chat at They also have a FAQ section with info about many devices. Look here: