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Sony moves to Flash memory for new line of audio players

Sony Electronics of China announced today a new line of MP3/WMA/Photo players which use flash memory instead of hard drives or Hi-MD media. The new devices boast compatibility with MP3 and WMA audio formats, as well as BMP and JPEG viewing capabilities.

Sony has also been implementing recording features into their personal audio players recently and the CE-P line has not been left out in the cold. The CE-P line features an FM tuner which can be recorded from along with a mic for voice recording. A rough translation of some Chinese websites also hint at a calendar function which may bring some type of organizer functionality to it.

Visually, the CE-P series features a 1.5-inch 260,000 color OLED display with a resolution of 128x128 pixels. The player will also feature two languages, simplified Chinese and English which may hint at a greater target market. The CE-P has a USB 2.0 interface to connect to PCs for transferring media although there is no word of PlayForSure compatibility. The CE-P lines is only about 1.8-inches wide and about 3-inches tall which makes this one of Sony's smallest portable audio devices yet.

Because of the Chinese-only announcement, it may be a while before we see the CE-P line in the States or we may not see the devices at all as it so often happens. The CE-P line comes in 3 different flash memory capacities: the CE-P13 with 256MB at about $100, the CE-P15 with 512MB at about $125, and the CE-P17 with 1GB of flash memory at around $150.

Sony recently announced a new Hi-MD player which featured OLED and MP3 support, but many were skeptical that these updates would change the outlook for the MiniDisc format. Is Sony looking to drop the MiniDisc format or just offering a wider range of options?





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