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  (Source: Sony)

  (Source: Sony)
The world's industry leader is dethroned in Japan... for now.

The Sony Walkman, a popular portable music device in the '80s that dropped into obscurity in the '90s , is back on top again -- in Japan. 
A survey by the Tokyo-based marketing research company BCN Inc. indicates that Sony -- which had consistently placed second to iPod -- placed first for the month of August.  

Sony’s share of the market for digital music players beat out Apple with a 47.8 percent market share last month, while the iPod captured 44 percent according to
 AFP and BCN.

"This is the first time that the Walkman outsold the iPod in monthly sales," said BCN analyst Eiji Mori.

BCN has been tracking monthly MP3 player sales in the country since 2001.  Sony was able to walk away with the lead for one week in September of 2001, but fell short for the month.  

Sony gained momentum
 in May with the release of its new Walkman S line. Mori speculated that consumers were holding off on buying an iPod ahead of the release of its newest generation.

"Sony's strategy to market relatively affordable products may have also contributed to the turnaround in the ranking in market shares," Mori added.

The iPod is expected to recapture the market again soon.  The highly anticipated, latest version of the device was revealed this week, but Sony could remain a contender for the top spot.  

The company also had a revelation this week.  Sony announced its plans to introduce new digital music service Music Unlimited.  The service will stream music over the internet to Sony TVs, PS3s, Blu-ray players and other devices.

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RE: Sound quality
By Reclaimer77 on 9/3/2010 9:54:52 PM , Rating: -1
What is the mp3 player's primary role? Playing music.

Wrong. It's primary role is being portable. You accept a loss in quality for the increase in convenience.

Unless you have a pair of these, for example, talking about MP3 player audio quality is pointless. Personally I can find better things to blow $500 on.

RE: Sound quality
By Omega215D on 9/4/2010 3:31:06 PM , Rating: 3
uhh no. I have an $80 pair of Klipsch Image S4s and I definitely notice how "off" some players sound. My ipod touch is the weakest sounding player while my Sansa clip+ does a better job and my Cowon D2 wins hands down. No need to spend that much.

RE: Sound quality
By Reclaimer77 on 9/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: Sound quality
By Omega215D on 9/8/2010 8:26:15 AM , Rating: 2
The Sony upper range players come with good headphones, enough so that most people don't get rid of them. Most other manufacturers ship $5 buds even with their high end players.

Even still I did use the phones that came with the D2 and plugged it into the iPod, D2 and clip+ and guess what? I noticed how each player sounded different from each other with the D2 again winning hands down.

RE: Sound quality
By protosv on 9/5/2010 9:22:12 PM , Rating: 2
On my pair of Grado SR80i's I can easily hear the differences between players, clear as day. For that matter, I can clearly hear the differences between sound cards on different computers as well. Forced me to upgrade from my Creative SBLive 24-bit to an HT Omega Claro+. World of difference! They're also $100, not $500.

More to your point, you can easily find a pair of Creative EP-830 earbuds on ebay for under $10 including shipping that offer sound that is head and shoulders above what the white iPod earbuds give you. And, using those, you will immediately appreciate a better-quality sound from your mp3 player. When you compare an iPod with something like like a Cowon D9, iRiver, Sony or Creative Zen, even with the $10 Creatives, you will appreciate just how poor the SQ of the iPod is.

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