James, you guys are doing great. Here are some personal thoughts. This is my opinion, not necessarily that of others.
I think you guys should have had most of these bugs ironed out before selling the X3. I'm talking about the ones fixed already, not the UI stuff. Gapless playback, 64 gig card support, etc. The device was simply not ready at launch. The reason you had to release at least 4 versions and provide this level of support is that your device was nowhere near ready enough for sales. Other companies dont provide this kind of support because other companies have released a product that works right, and only very minor bug fixes are required. Not the massive revamping of the firmware that you have done.
Dont get me wrong, it is an incredible feat to do this level of bugfixing. You have entirely changed the firmware into something pretty usable.
As far as the UI goes, I think it is not necessary for you to worry too much about it. There is a certain way people expect their tracks to show up:
- if I want all songs, I want to see all of my songs listed alphabetically. Not by track number, but my track TITLE.
- if I go into Artist, I either want "all songs" or a specific album by that artist. Artist/All should be alphabetical. Artist/Album should be listed in track order.
- If i go into genre, I want all songs alphabetical. I want to be able to see Genre/all songs, Genre/Artist/All songs, Genre/Artist/Album. In this case, everything should be alphabetical order because one album may have songs from multiple genres, or maybe the genre/artist/album should be listed in track order.
- All Songs should be another category, and it should be listed INSIDE of category view. It doesnt make sense to have it outside of category if it IS a category.
Other small changes and "nice-to-have" features would be changing the menu order, gapless playback determined by id3 tag, audiobook support (bookmarks location for audiobooks, doesnt list them in songs). That sort of thing.
Now, if you are doing an interface revamp in 2014 and outsourcing development work of the X5 firmware (and possibly X3 firmware), you would simply be wasting your time.
The way I see it: you have 2 methods of browsing. For the artist/album/track method, you can use "browse files". For the rest of the methods, you can KIND OF use the category view (if it didnt sort by track number).
Is this ideal? no. of course not. But as long as you have this working, it is fine. spend your dev efforts elsewhere but make sure that in this current stage, the X3 WORKS. By that, i mean that a 64 gig card that is completely packed to full with various formats of files, album art, etc should not pose any problems. There should definitely be no id3 tag library update issues, there should not be any browse issues. UI tweaks should be mostly secondary because the goal should be having functional usable hardware. After your hardware is fixed and your smaller bugs are fixed (the ones specifically related to sound quality rather than user experience), THEN you work on user experience.
This device is bought not because it works like an ipod, but because it is some of the highest affordable sound quality you can get. The ibasso devices are ludicrously priced, an ipod generally needs an amp/LOD and an itouch can only drive a limited set of hardware and doesnt have much file playback capability natively.
For the cost, your device is excellent by any measurement/hardware standard. I think you should concentrate on maintaining this hardware-oriented superiority and only when that is satisfactory should you place development effort into a UI revamp.
After all, its whats on the inside that really counts.
Keep up the good work.