Audio lovers will be happy to hear the latest news about Windows 10: the operating system will support lossless audio on phones and tablets. PC World noticed that Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Operating Systems Group, Joe Belfiore, took to Twitter to answer a question about music playback capabilities, saying FLAC files would be available in future preview builds of the software for small devices.
@Lisan_09 Yes, FLAC support will be on phones/small tablets… won't be in the first insider build, though, will be a few months later..
— joebelfiore (@joebelfiore) January 28, 2015
The reference to FLAC is the Free Lossless Audio Codec, a file format that retains audio quality but in a smaller size than the pure music stream. FLAC shrinks down an audio file, similar to a ZIP file, but unlike the MP3 format it stores the full, uncompressed audio data. You could, for example, take music files from a CD and reduced the file sizes with FLAC, without losing any sound quality.
For this reason, FLAC is one of the preferred file formats used for high-resolution audio files, which are typically much larger than an MP3 file. Indeed, I use FLAC files on the new Sony Walkman A17 digital audio player I recently purchased because my source music files can be massive by comparison: My high-res digital copy of the song More Than a Feeling on Boston’s first album, for example, is 192MB in size. A comparably sounding FLAC version of it uses 60MB of storage.
Note that iOS supports [company]Apple[/company]’s own take on FLAC files that are called ALAC, or Apple Lossless Audio Codec while Google Android devices natively support FLAC audio files.