Buddha Machine 2.0?

This isn’t news on the order of a multi-touch iPod, a less brick-like Zune, or a post-DRM Sony MP3 player — but the Buddha Machine has apparently experienced an upgrade.

This milestone in the product life cycle of the sound-art gadget designed by the China-based duo FM3 may have occurred a year ago or more, but I only just became aware of the change.

A friend had me over for dinner recently and I noticed that his Buddha Machine has a different button than do the pair that I own. The difference between the two generations involves the button that skips through the machine’s nine lo-fi loops. (More info on the device at fm3buddhamachine.com.)

On mine (pictured above, in green), the button is a little black nubbin that you switch back and forth; there’s a helpful white arrow pointing in each direction. On the new generation (above, pink), the black nubbin has been replaced by an inset button the same color as the rest of the device.

The sound loops haven’t changed, nor has the economically tinny sound quality. Not exactly an upgrade on the order of Apple’s iterative marketing strategy — but perhaps a Buddha Machine Nano is down the road…

PS: I should have mentioned that an actual formidable upgrade, with new sounds, is due to be presented at South by Southwest this year (fm3buddhamachine.com).

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