I decided to buck the trend and go for a Sony MP3 player over the Apple Ipod when I bought MP3 players for myself and the missus. On the whole they were a good buy – sound quality excellent but desktop software a bit iffy…
Anyway I discovered a Firmware update today and after careful consideration (as firmware updates can be a bit risky) I took the plunge and upgraded my NW-3000 from 2.01 to 3.00. Really pleased I did as the interface is now much quicker and has an improved loading icon (rather then the disk spinning you still see the normal screen with a little loading AJAX style symbol bottom right (the area where battery status is shown). It also supports AAC files and has some other little improvements – se the linked page above for full details. I upgraded the wifes A1000 with no issues too. Also I used Vista to do the upgrade.
So if you are concerned follow the instructions to the letter, keep your fingers crossed and hey presto improved MP3 player!
Naturally I take no responsibility for any damages occurring from following my recommendation – flashing firmware is always risky and you do so at your own risk.