SF Chronicle Shines Spotlight On Walkman vs. iPod

The San Francisco Chronicle shines a detailed spotlight on the battle between Sony and Apple in the music player space. The article, fittingly titled "Walkman vs. iPod," offers not only some opinions on the nature of the fight between Appleis iPod and Sonyis new Walkman NW-HD1, it also offers some history on the market, and other related, in-depth details on the subject.

Sony released the tiny, 20 GB digital music player, the NW-HD1, last week. While the 20 GB player is smaller and less expensive than Appleis 20 GB player, it supports only Sonyis ATRAC3 format, offering support for the industry standard MP3 format only through a conversion process. Whether despite or because of its features and limitations, many have proclaimed it the first real competition for Apple in this space.

From the article:

Analysts say Sony poses the biggest challenge yet to the iPod, although they add that Apple should still be up to the challenge of defending a market that has become a key part of the companyis overall success.

"We think this is the year Sony starts breathing down Appleis neck in music," said technology analyst Richard Doherty of the Envisioneering Group. "Customers who look to the iPod as the only advanced styling and fashion statement out there are going to take more than a second look at the Walkman."

In a broader sense, Sonyis new Walkman devices signal the latest escalation in a battle between the traditional consumer electronics-makers and the newcomer computer-makers, which are all chasing after a growing consumer appetite for digital media and entertainment.

"Weire approaching this with a broader and long-term view, not just looking at the next iPod version for the world," said Phil Wiser, chief technology officer for Sony Corp. of America. "Weire not just a PC and a single device. We are looking at this as an overall strategic push for all of our products."

"This is not a three- or four-month struggle. We see this as a multiyear battle," Wiser said.

There is much more in the full article, and we recommend it as a very interesting read.