Sony intros 20 GB ‘iPod Killer’

"Two and a half years after Apple launched its iPod and began to steal thunder from Sony, which had ruled the portable music market since the Walkman appeared in the 1980s, the company unveiled the first hard-disk drive based music player to bear its name on Monday," Martyn Williams reports for Digit Magazine. "The Vaio Pocket VGF-AP1 has a 20GB hard disk drive and a 2.2-inch colour LCD screen with 320-x-256 pixel resolution. In addition to acting as the main user interface, the screen displays track information when songs are being played and displays, if available, album art."

"On the right-hand side of the display is a touch-sensitive panel dubbed ‘G-sense’ that is used to control the player. Users can navigate a series of on-screen menus by running their fingers over the panel in the appropriate direction," Williams reports. "The player is compatible with Sony’s ATRAC3 and ATRAC3 plus digital music formats, both of which include digital rights management (DRM)."

Williams reports, "By using Sony’s Sonic Stage or Music Move software, both of which are bundled with the player, tracks in MP3, Windows Media Audio or WAV audio file formats can be converted into ATRAC and uploaded to the player. The software is compatible with Windows 98SE, 2000, ME, XP Home and XP Professional operating systems."

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The “G-Sense” is obvously a response to the fact that Apple is pursuing a patent on the iPod scroll-wheel. Sony can’t use the best solution, the scroll wheel, so this is what they’ve decided to try. Apple decision to patent the iPod scroll wheel is playing out in their favor. In the end, Apple could end up with a patent that would be nearly as significant as holding a patent for the computer mouse as input device. The Sony player goes on sale in Japan on June 5th and will retail for 53,000 yen (US$479). Too much for too little.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple iTunes Music Store vs. Sony Connect is no contest, Apple wins with ease – May 09, 2004
NY Times pans Sony Connect debut: ‘maybe they ought to call it Sony Disconnect’ – May 05, 2004


  1. Egads! That looks less like a music player and more like the handheld reader device my Gas company uses to check my Gas Meter with. Sheesh! And the keypad on the right…who the heck wants to deal with something like that? I want to listen to my music, not type out a discertation.

  2. You may complain about the weird keypad, but you gotta admit that Sony’s slick and memorable names for its products display sheer marketing genius. Decades from now, thousands of kids will be saying, “Gee, I remember when I got my first VFG-AP1…er… was it VGF-AP1?….”

  3. Hey! I remember when I got my first TI99-4/a… back when Bill Cosby was hocking it ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  4. Nothing wrong with an “iPod Killer.” Whatever will serve to make the iPod less expensive is a GREAT thing. But of course, an “iPod killer” would alomost certainly have to cost LESS than an iPod, and this apparently doesn’t. Anyhow, I’m still waiting for the day when someone comes out with an iPod killer, so that I can pay less for the iPod.

  5. lol, tokyo guy. which goes to show exactly how they people are missing the point. you don’t call your devices names like that if you want them to become hip to the device. not too bright, I think. so sad, and so late to the game.

    everyone harps on Sony losing the lead, but think how big and bloated they are. they design everything, and get nothing “just” right. Apple, though, has a small team, just a few items, and then can really take time to get everything right. it’s hard to compete with the small, nimble firm with clear product focus. for Sony, this player is just another in an infinite matrix, to be easily replaced in the years to come. for Apple, the first generation iPods are still around, and they need to design for durability in terms of design and compatibility. that’s all they got, so they have to get it right. (well, in terms of digital lifestyle devices, anyway.) so, no surprises there.

    advantage Apple.

  6. Calling it the “Vaio Pocket” would be better, at least it would of been a real name not like the ZDX- 081 or some shit like that!

    Cool code names are so 1980’s.

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