Posted by site admin on December 8th, 2004
A little over a month ago, I purchased an iRiver H320 digital audio player. I did so based upon past experiences of friends with iRiver products and upon numerous glowing reviews found online. I have been very pleased with my purchase, but was a bit miffed on arrival to discover that the US version did not include one of the signature features of the international version. Namely, USB on the Go, aka USBOTG. USBOTG lets you connect USB storage devices up to a special auxilary USB port on the H320 and transfer files back and forth. With this feature, for example, you can connect digital cameras, flash card readers, portable hard drives and other digital audio players and transfer files in either direction. Anyways, on the US version of the player, the functionality of this auxilary port was changed to be a special port for transferring DRM’d music files. I HATE DRM and badly wanted my USBOTG. I investigated returning my unit and buying an international version. I discovered that iRiver was selling their units for as much as $150-200 more oversees, despite only minor FUNCTIONAL differences. I began to investigate physical differences between the US and international players and compared photographs and also began collecting serial numbers for both players. It appeared that all the units are assembeled on the same line and have only minor physical differences. So far, the probable physical differences are as follows: The USB ports on the bottom are labeled differently and there is believed to be a pull-up/pull-down resistor on the international version associated with the auxilary USB port. With physical differences so minor, I began considering the possibility of flashing my US player with the international firmware. After further investigation on the MisticRiver Forums , I decided to attempt flashing my player. I did so and my player seems no worse for wear. In fact, I picked up a number of neat features like XVID video playback. The US version of the player does not ship with the special cable needed to hook up devices to the auxilary port, so I was initially unable to test the USBOTG functionality. I was able to order one online and it arrived a few days ago. I have been testing it out for the last few days and can report that USBOTG is at least somewhat functional on my US player (flashed to 1.25 Korean FW). I have been able to get it to work with devices that supply their own power (external hdd’s, cameras, etc.), but haven’t had any sucess with passive devices like card readers. I have tried at least 1 card reader that is known to work on the international version, so it appears that the US version of the device is incapable of supply power on the auxilary port.