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Sony A-Series Walkman
"That's all I can stands and I can't stands no more"

Sony is tired of having its butt kicked by Apple in the portable audio market. The iPod has consistently thwarted any attempt by Sony to grab a foothold on the market even after several valiant attempts. Sales figures show that Apple sold almost twice as many music players in the first three months of 2006 than Sony did in all of the previous fiscal year. According to a top Sony executive, the company is ready to take another jab at the venerable iPod. Whether those punches deliver any serious damage remain to be seen.

Sony is hoping to launch the new series of players in time for the Holiday '06 buying season; right about the time when the company's highly anticipated PlayStation 3 is due to hit shelves around the world. The new music players also promise to focus heavily on design and battery life. From Digital Tokyo World:

Apple has a commanding lead in the music player market and is particularly strong in the U.S., where it's estimated to command more than 80 percent market share. Sony has tried to unseat Apple in that market before with little success, and its recently launched A-series Walkman digital music players are on sale only in Japan and Europe.

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It's not about the player only
By psychobriggsy on 5/1/2006 11:51:45 AM , Rating: 2
It's about the whole experience and usability.

That means the player, the computer software, the online music store, and whether your friends will laugh at you for buying that product.

Apple's got all of those sorted. It all just works, and the players look nice as well. Even the evilness that is DRM, in the form of Fairplay, is not that evil, given that it has quite lax restrictions. The default audio format is an open standard (AAC) and high quality.

Sony, well, SoundStage, hehehe, and I'd laugh at anyone who bought a DMP that used such awful software. Looks are subjective, so I won't deduct points here. DRM is far more restrictive. I don't know if Sony have a music store, and if the prices are competitive with iTMS, the quality is good, or they have an equally large range of songs.

By segagenesis on 5/1/2006 12:34:02 PM , Rating: 2
I used to have one thier older players, but its rotting in a landfill right now so I cant give you the model offhand. To put it nicely the device was about as useful as used chewing gum. The main problem was the custom ATRAC format made just about whatever music I put into it sound terrible from recompression, even at the highest setting. The only positive I could remotely say about it was it needed a single AAA battery and lasted a good while on one.

Don't get me started on the software either... I think an old Intellivision controller would be more productive (obscure?). Apple has done well on both how thier players operate, how they look, and the "desirability" factor.

FYI, I now own an iPod.

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