AfterDawn: Tech news

Sony unveils new Walkman, hints iPod challenger

Written by Ben Reid @ 12 Oct 2006 14:19 User comments (25)

Sony unveils new Walkman, hints iPod challenger As Sony Corp. today announced that it will roll out five new flash-memory-based digital music players under its Walkman brand, it also added that it is developing a video-capable Walkman which it hopes will provide decent competition to Apple's ever-dominant iPod device - which currently holds more than half the global digital media player market.
"We are developing a product that handles images, but I cannot make any comment on specific plans," said Sony Senior Vice President Hiroshi Yoshioka.

Five new Walkman models will be released by the close of the year, offering capacities of up to 4GB. The players have a unique perfume-bottle design, and the high-end model will be priced at 29,000 yen ($240) in Japan.

Even though it hopes to challenge Apple at the summit of the digital audio player market, Sony acknowledges it has a long way to go to get there. "Sony has a lot of strengths that Apple doesn't have," said Yoshioka, speaking at a press conference. "This is a device that takes advantage of them." He also added that Sony aims to double Walkman's share in the global portable digital music player market from the current 20%.

The new Walkman lineup includes the ability to transfer tunes directly from a CD player, as well as an integrated noise-cancellation feature. It is also expected that the devices will allow users to listen to about three hours of music on a three minute charge, and up to 50 hours on a two hour charge.


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25 user comments

112.10.2006 14:27

Watch out Ipood u is bout to get an A$$ whooping!!!!

212.10.2006 14:51

I love the smell of DRM. $ony rocks...

312.10.2006 15:01

"iPod killer"...hah. How many times have we heard that before. Companies should face it: Apple's product will stay way ahead in popularity as long as they are at the forefront of technology. C'mon, mini hard drives replaced flash storage years ago, and $ony are still trying to use flash instead? If they don't learn to pioneer new technology instead of rehashing, they'll fall behind like the other 100+ "iPod competitors". It'll take something entirely new to even compete with iPod, so all of these companies which are still just mimicing Apple are never going to be able to compete with the original, because they never do anything revolutionary like Apple did with the iPod.

412.10.2006 15:42

themind, if you like the smell of DRM, just you wait for Microsoft's Zune to drop! ;)

512.10.2006 15:46

LOL, Sony dont "pioneer new technology". Have you not noticed the format war? and before that it was betamax and VHS, which Sony lost. Not to mention all the other formats they created, minidisc, UMD etc. But i do agree that they need to come out with something other than competitive price to even make a dent in the ipod market. Everything is just the same with no new tech, until they add some super cool feature they will sell very few.

612.10.2006 16:13

nothing will beat the superior ipod

712.10.2006 18:03

man aint no way sony can mess with ipod i mean its demand is so great and well its the best thing since sliced bread lol

812.10.2006 18:27

best model is 4GB for $250? what else does it do, make my eggs in the morning?

912.10.2006 18:54

i agree $250 is way to much for a 4gb. ipod's give you way more memory for that amount sounds like a jip if you ask me

1012.10.2006 19:48

I definitely don't see what's so great about it. Maybe those logos ARE worth something. I'll stick with my 1gig cheapness.

1112.10.2006 19:50

its trash end of story man i mean look at it lookes like one of theose cheap mp3 players you get at wallmart man

1212.10.2006 20:21

Awesome! I love Walkmans! I'll definately have to check these guys out.

1312.10.2006 22:15

^ thats another thing... They thing by stamping the name "Walkman" on all of their stuff, it will sell better... Mabye "walkman"s were popular years ago... but now the name just smells of old tech.

1412.10.2006 22:46

I'd much prefer flash memory to hard disks. And while I don't see this being any type of Ipod killer (it really looks more like another flash mp3 player with some added functionality), it's a breath of fresh air for an otherwise homogenous industry.

1513.10.2006 10:47

You can get an 8 gig Nano or a 30 gig video iPod for $250, while Sony shouldn't be trying to beat Apple with just price alone, overpricing sure as hell ain't gonna do it.

1613.10.2006 13:01

Remember Sony's Minidisc product? The only software that you could use was made by Sony (that nasty library like deal where you had to checkin and checkout music when you moved it to the the minidisc)...the software that had so many bugs that prevented you from using your legit music when the program went bad? Bet another quality software program will be coming out way yet again lol. ABS...anyone but sony

1713.10.2006 13:02

The only move to this is the battery life, size and hopefully the ease of the software if the information is correct: "The new Walkman lineup includes the ability to transfer tunes directly from a CD player"

1814.10.2006 6:33

^^^^^ I had a minidisk player myself it was great, except for the crap software which in the end corrupted like half my disks.

1914.10.2006 13:20

I older not able to connect to computer MZ-R50 and few of the newer ones. I had one 600 mdoel die on me. I have an ipod (Not for audio, only itunes video) 30 gig.

2015.10.2006 9:05

Can't believe the comments about ipod, I have one and a Sony NW-A3000 and believe me the Sony is 100X better than my 40Gig ipod. My son has a nano and he wants a sony, he's not impressed with the nano. here to stay, so why blame Sony? Also have 4 minidisc players, and have not had any problems with them.......still use them regularly. Hope Sony screws the ipod, Sony is better made, and sound is better and also doesn’t scratch when you use it. Sony rocks, Apple sucks, think of a Granny Smith.

2115.10.2006 9:23

v965hdss, I only have the ipod 30 gig us edition for video. I hear it all the time about minidisc sucks, who is laughning when the nano dies and you have to reload the music. Almost 1 gig on a minidisc is enough. I have 6 recorders and 1 players (its on its last leg). I have one for the car, gym, running, computer and 2 spares from the ex-wife. Rich

2215.10.2006 10:04

Nothing is wrong with the Sony idea, it is basically to weak for a damaging attack on something as promenent as the IPOD. When is a company as large as SONY going to come out with a IPOD equivelant with an HD for storage and a XM and Sirrus tuner built in and then incorporate satelite Internet download access?

2315.10.2006 11:01

I do not look at the name; but, more the specifications. I had a mix of stuff, not too picky!

2416.10.2006 10:57

Even if iPods are prominent they are on their down cycle. Too many people that I know have gone through 3 of them and won’t buy another. I thought SanDisk might be the way to go but sound quality and other issue caused me to return it. Aren’t Sony batteries the ones that blow up? Could this be considered a terrorist device by the government and you won’t be able to bring them with you when flying, you may blow up the plane. LOL

2517.10.2006 22:35

Sony has a history of pushing proprietary technology. Such as Betamax (they wouldn't even license the Beta format to other mfrs. until it was dead), Elcaset, Minidisc, and finally the Network Walkmans (Atrac instead of MP3). Sony's failure to give the consumer what we want while cripling Sony digital players with bad softwear and infernal digital right restrictions has met with consumer indifference. While I'm certainly not to be confused with Einstein I think I know what makes a player viable. Currently that would be: 1.) Compatibility with all current leading formats for audio. 2.) Easy ability to move mp3's back and forth with no DRM hassles (my library = no DRM checks...rented music download services = foolproof checks that are invisible) 3.)Portability 4.)Screen that is very nice and as large as possible 5.)Battery life that insures at least 10 hrs. on a charge. 6.)Build in the unit a low powered FM transmitter. 7.)Make a standard interface like the iPod so it can be hooked into many optional aftermarket devices. Finally, I think it goes without saying that the thing will have to be an industrial design tour de force in the looks department. Do all that with the usual Sony quality of audio and then it will at least be in the game with the iPod. Of course if history is any indication Sony will decide none of the above is important. It's hard to believe there was a time when owning a Sony Trinitron was on par with driving a Mercedes...However, anyone in the market for digital music player is likely to wonder what a "Trinatron" is.

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