Yet another ‘iPod Killer’ to debut, this time from Sony

“The iPod may finally have a serious competitor. The company that brought us the Walkman is entering the hard disk music player arena now dominated by its trendsetting-rival Apple Computer Inc.,” May Wong reports for Associated Press.

“Sony Corp. plans to unveil Thursday its newest Walkman, a palm-sized, aluminum-encased player that can store up to 13,000 songs on its 20-gigabyte, 1.8-inch hard drive, and promises 30 hours of playback on a rechargeable battery,” Wong reports. “Weighing 3.8 ounces, the new Sony NW-HD1 is smaller and lighter than the iPod’s 15-, 20- and 40-gigabyte models, and just slightly larger than the 4-gigabyte iPod Mini. Sony claims the portable player is the smallest of its class. The product will be available in mid-August for less than $400, Sony said.” Full article here.

Sony’s measurement is based on songs encoded using its ATRAC3 (Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding for MiniDisc 3) compression system at the relatively low rate of 48Kbps while Apple’s measurement is based on the AAC compression system at 128Kbps. At the same bit rate, the Walkman can store around half as many songs as the iPod, which is consistent with it having half the storage capacity… The Walkman supports only Sony’s ATRAC3 compression format, versions of which are used with Sony’s MiniDisc players and its recently-launched Windows-only ‘Connect’ online music store. Music files encoded in other formats, such as MP3, first have to be converted to ATRAC3 before they can be played and software to accomplish this is included. Transcoding typically results in some reduction in quality,” Martyn Williams reports for IDG News Service.

MacDailyNews Take: Yawn.

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. I don’t think there is going to be any competition. Like the PC is popular because people know about it, the iPod is popular because people know about it. It’s not completely about making a better product. It’s about what people know. The iPod is a popular device especially among my friends (16-19). It’s a pop-culture device. People like it because of the fad attached. I’m not saying that sony doesn’t have a chance. It’s just going to be hard to swing youth towards another device.

  2. Yeah, and its also not neccessarily a better product. I doubt it will match the ease of use and simplicity of the iPod, and the name doesn’t help it at all.

  3. WHat! Why are talking about iPod�s all the time? It is WWDC going and there is new xCode 2.0! Why aren�t MDN talking about it? iPod everywhere damn it!
    I am not interested about what Dull or Sony does! I need more information about Apple AND WWDC!
    I hate when fucks like Dull/Konfabulator/Sony/Secunia steal the show with unbelievable FUD.

  4. nah. They’re going to push yet another compression scheme, and I don’t think it’ll fly. Nobody knows where they can get those songs.

    Color me skeptical about the quality. 48kbps????

    However, if the battery life is what they say, I’m impressed by that. I wish Apple could offer something similar. And it must not be battery size, if this gadget is smaller than the iPod. That’s the biggest hole in Apple’s armor of staying on top of the portable music market, IMO.

  5. Only in the 8track format. It won’t last long since it won’t convert your iTunes software. The player itself is just another wannbe. I always thought that walkman’s were good, guess all good things must come to an end.

  6. I agree with AC. The iPod is a fad device… with muscle. It is not their dad’s old Walkman and it also interfaces with the best music download site via the best computer music player/organizer.

    Sony needs to compete with the whole system, not just putting out another hard drive player. Sony is far too late to this party. They actually had ALL of the parts, audio and computer hardware, including their own music company, but failed to have the innovative genius to put it all together.

    I believe it was based on a true love of music, a respect for the musician as well as the avid listener, that was the true source of Apple’s success. Even with all of the parts, Sony never had the vital glue to put it all together.

  7. Predict away ed. Walkman is still a well known name, ala Kleenex. And…smaller and lighter with 3x the battery life? For shoppers who aren’t experts on compression or encoding, which is most of them, this will be competition.

  8. I can’t see how anyone that already has an mp3 (or AAC) library of any size is going to have the least bit of desire to re-encode or convert those files to ATRAC3 just to buy this device. I can’t understand why Sony doesn’t at least support playback of mp3. What are they smoking?

  9. No atrap, no wilma, no womv, no fogg, no ram nor rmm or avis; not even mov or aac/m4a, no nuthin’– not even wavs or aiffs or docs nor swifs or xls or pwts or html nor xml or whateverdafukcitis and no win-anything nor i-sump’ns … just txt or mp3 or mpg. You get my point? Pass the bottle….

  10. Three times battery life with files 1/3 the size. I wonder how they do it when you only access the hard drive 1/3 as often? Obviously it’s the same battery that is in the iPod with a lower power chip/OS running the POS.

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