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

38 Comments

  1. Yet another format to lock you in to a specific set of hardware. Sony didn’t learn a thing from the BetaMax debacle (format war for VCR). Sir Howard (Stringer) needs to get his head out of his arse and get with the program. At least it’s not WMA.

  2. Hey guys, whats the figure at for “iPod killers”? I was hoping we could keep up a running count of them along with any news about new ones. I think its like iPod Killers (total) – 9 (?).

    Any clues?
    Cheers.

  3. So, Apple wants to make you send you iPod (never to get the same one back) for a +100 buck battery replacement plus the hassle and time to snail mail it in. So, Apple wants to give you shithook battery performance as well. So, Apple want to kick you in the face for 250 bucks plus for 10 gig iPod.

    Well, all that thankfully is now going to end. Sony, finally, is useful again in this world. This piece of shit player will kick Apple in the balls, and give us value once again, as well as fix the idiotic failures of the iPod mini.

    Sony, thanks.

  4. Haha! John’s spot on. No MP3 support, no sales. I think maybe Mac users or existing iTMS users wouldn’t buy it because it’s not going to play those Fairplay AACs. But that might not be significant if the player really was significantly better or just as good and cheaper.

    But no MP3 definitely = DOA.

    The new Sony DOA. The name’s at least catchier than the one Sony thought up.

  5. RATD,D – thanks for giving us a reference so that we can check it out. I had a very quick google, but didn’t find anything useful out from the first few entries and as i really don’t give a shit, I gave up looking.

  6. “Well, all that thankfully is now going to end. Sony, finally, is useful again in this world. This piece of shit player will kick Apple in the balls, and give us value once again, as well as fix the idiotic failures of the iPod mini”.

    Sony, thanks.

    A $400 player that cannot play MP3s WOW

  7. “For shoppers who aren’t experts on compression or encoding, which is most of them, this will be competition.”

    Joe,
    I disagree; Sony’s attempt to push the ATRAC3 format may have some initial traction because of the strength of the Walkman brand, but let’s face it, the bitrate is crappy, and what happens to your huge collection of MP3’s when you convert them to ATRAC3? I honestly don’t think any manufacturer should just roll over and cede the market to the iPod, after all choice benefits us all, but I don’t think Sony’s offering fits the bill.

    “This piece of shit player will kick Apple in the balls, and give us value once again, as well as fix the idiotic failures of the iPod mini.”

    iPod Arrogance to End,
    How about wiping the froth off your chin and get back to us when that happens OK? Until then, I’ll leave instructions for my future grandchildren to listen out for you. Ciao.

  8. Sony will not succeed with this product. Sony is always scrambling to make an exciting product. They try something new then dump it. i.e. Clie, Aibo, and the Mini Disc. Although they still support all of these products it comes in the market with hype, promotion, support then it dies. Sony wants to be the exclusive in an inclusive market. You can use anything on a PC. There are hundreds of portable music players. iPod is a brand a strong brand that people want to be apart of not just to have something like a iPod. This is not a CD player, or Beta. This is a music player that works with an exclusive service connected to it. Didn’t Sony just come out with a high capacity Mini Disc. That was supposed to be all the rave, now they just abandoned that for something else. Bad interface and no support. Sony real competition will not be iPod but it will be the hundreds of other players that are competing in an anything goes PC market.

  9. Look at the standards employed by different vendors.

    Apple claims you can put 10,000 songs in 40 GB.

    Sony claims you can put 13,000 songs in 20 GB.

    And they are just making use of the ignorance of the people to sell their music player. The 30+ hours of battery is when you run at the lowest kbps (48 kbps)…

    It is like how Intel removed the MHz from their processor.. just a few weeks from now, we will have iPod killers that will not mention their hard-drive capaicty but tout on the number of songs that they can hold (without telling at how low a quality it could be).

  10. I guess we know who’s a troll here. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” /> By the way, anyone notice that the Sony/McDonald’s promo is gone already? Or was that just here in L.A.?

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