Sony to combat music market ‘maestro’ Apple Computer with ‘Walkman Beans’

“Sony is getting curvy and colorful with its latest digital Walkman offering. The new NW-E300 series of kidney-shaped, flash-based devices–also known by the catchier name of Walkman Beans–is the latest in a string of music players from the company once synonymous with portable tunes. In recent years, like many other companies, Sony has been playing catch-up with the iPod from market maestro Apple Computer,” CNET News.com reports.

“Pricing is set at about $130 for the NW-E305, which has 512MB of storage, and about $180 for the NW-E307, with 1GB of storage,” CNET News.com reports. “The Beans play both MP3 and Atrac music files, and also support the WMA and WAV formats. They’re compatible with Sony’s Connect online music service. An FM tuner is built in.”

The players are due in October.

Full article with photos here.
Do not eat Walkman Beans?

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Do not eat iPod shuffle – January 19, 2005

64 Comments

  1. $130 for 512 MB is kinda pricy, but it comes with FM.
    it plays MP3 files so it’s a step in the right direction for sony. I don’t think Apple has anything to fear though.
    As always iTunes + iPod is the key.

  2. They really hurt themselves entering this market with ATRAC only players. Now they’re playing some serious catch-up and it may be too late. These look like decent players I don’t think they’ll be able to compete with iPod.

  3. “Walkman Beans” – they’re kidding, surely? Is this the best they can do – swap unmemorable alphanumeric product names for .. “Beans?”

    I just can’t see it:
    “Hey I bought you a Sony Walkman Bean for your birthday” – not likely

    “Wow – I LOVE my new Bean” – uh-huh…..

    “This Bean from Sony is SO cool” – not

    Come on… next they’ll tell me that Samsung have called their players something stupid like “Yepp” …

    It is pitifull to see a once-great company like Sony fall so low. It is “beleagured” alright – just like Apple was in the mid-90’s. I doubt Sir Howard Stringer was the right choice to get them back on the beaten track either. They need a revolution, and that clapped out old record exec certainly isn’t it.

    Beans indeed… rehashed and reheated.. same crap, different name.

  4. From the pictures, the way you are supposed to hold it means that the display is always vertical, you’re gonna have to twist your hand to get it horizontal or change your grip. Plus it still looks too techy with fiddly little buttons. As Douglas Adams once wrote – “We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works. How do you recognise something that is still technology? A good clue is if it comes with a manual.”

  5. Normally I like most of Sony’s industrial design for their products. This new bean thing is just hideous though! Their previous flash backes net walkman’s were cool though, these ones: http://news.com.com/2300-1041_3-5838111-2.html

    i dont know that theyll still be making those, but anyways I think they’re cool looking. Does it come close to an iPod? No way. But still, as I said I think MOST of Sony’s designs are apealing. However, this year, they’ve been TERRIBLE! Their new display lineup is ugly as hell, same goes for their desktop Viao’s.

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