Sony Unwraps Two New Media Players

Sony unveiled two new model Walkmans during its press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Sony unleashed two new model Walkmans in its latest effort to put a dent in Apple's stranglehold of the digital music player market. Sony unveiled the new music players during its press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Sony's new Walkman X-Series sports a 3.5-inch OLED touchscreen display and includes WiFi for downloading podcasts, streaming video from YouTube, and more. The X Series will be available early this summer in 16GB and 32GB capacities, with pricing yet to be determined.

Available in April, Sony's Walkman W Series features a cord-free design integrating the music player into the headset — a design meant to be lightweight and comfortable. The W series can fully charge its estimated 12-hour battery in only 30 minutes, while most other audio players take a few hours to recharge. The W Series wil be available in April with support for protected and unprotected WMA, as well as unprotected MP3 and AAC formats.

While at the Sony booth, I had a brief hands-on with The Walkman W Series. It uses a control mechanism that Sony calls "ZAPPIN," a small job wheel located on the under-side of the right earbud. Turn the knob forward to skip to the next song, flip it back to play the previous song, and click it to play or pause your music. I like the idea of a music player integrated into the headphones; it seems like an obvious evolution, and joggers will be pleased. The only obvious downsides I saw in my brief hands-on in the Sony booth was the fact that the volume rocker and ZAPPIN jogwheel are close together and about the same size, so they may be easy to confuse.

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Melissa J. Perenson

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