This came out of left field! While writing a FAQ article about supported media types for your BlackBerry I ran into an interesting little update. Turns out that RIM stuck in support for the enthusiast Vorbis codec and FLAC coded in the BlackBerry Torch 9800. The also put it in the BlackBerry Curve 9300 but not the Pearl 9100 which is odd… I guess support has nothing to do with BlackBerry 6 because the 9300 does not ship with BlackBerry 6.
I tried an Vorbis audio file on my BlackBerry Torch 9800 and it worked like a charm. I then tested out a much larger FLAC file and it also worked. The only downside is that you cannot stream these formats using RTS but you can download them through the Torch’s browser. I can now play my collection of FLAC files on my Torch! I never even thought of trying…
In case you don’t know what Vorbis or FLAC is here is a bit of a intro:
- Vorbis (Wikipedia) is an open source codec kind of like MP3 (which has patents on it) which is used by open source projects as a royalty free replacement for MP3. Like MP3 files it is lossy so it does compress files and lose some quality but it does it very well. It is usually called OGG Vorbis because it is in an Ogg container (*.ogg file).
- The FLAC (wikipedia) codec is an open/free GPL licensed audio codec and audio file format (*.flac) for lossless audio conversion. That means it is a codec meant for when you don’t want to lose any audio quality in the conversion process. The downside is that these files tend to be MUCH larger but it is amazing for music that loses quality when compressed. On the other hand the format does usually manage a 60% compression from the original source without losing quality.
Anybody else excited that RIM has added FLAC and OGG Vorbis support? I know when they added DIVX and XVID support that went over well with users and I think this is also a very nice addition that RIM let fly under the radar.