The MP3 arms race between manufacturers is fought on many levels. Some try to achieve status in the race for memory to get the consumer who wants to store their entire music library, some try for the athletic type who need a durable player, and others try to get the consumer who wants the extras (video, etc.). With this idea in mind it is hard to understand why Sony, a big hitter in electronics, has decided to go the small route, the route of the inexpensive, durable device.
The Sony name is big in portable audio by their history with the “Walkman” devices that ruled the portable cassette player days. With the Sony Walkman Core MP3 Player you get 512MB (or 345 songs) worth of memory with an awesome 50 hours of battery life. The battery charger boasts a quick charge time where you can get three hours of playing time from charging for just three minutes. The Sony Walkman Core also has an FM tuner and retails for around $99.95.
Sony also offers the Sony Walkman Bean, a truly compact MP3 player with a built-in USB connector, in 512MB and 1GB size. The Walkman Bean gives the same exceptional battery life as the Walkman Core, the fast charging 50 hour battery. Sony’s Walkman Bean also comes with the FM tuner and retails for around $89.95 for the 512MB and $119.95 for the 1GB.
The third option Sony has for MP3 consumers is the Walkman Circ, a round and sporty compact digital player. With the Walkman Circ you get 70 hours of battery life with the 512MB memory and a backlit LCD display. Sony’s Walkman Circ does not offer an FM tuner and retails for around $89.99.
Sony’s line of MP3 players provides a great example for why the digital audio player race is so complex. The people at Sony are no doubt one of the elite players in electronics, but they are lagging in this race. With difficult software and fragile flash drive players the initial reputation for Sony in the digital audio world is weak.