Consumer electronics giant Sony Corp. unveiled Tuesday a new family of flash memory-based digital media devices squarely aimed at Appleis iPod shuffle. The new players have up to one gigabyte (GB) of storage and depending on which version, cost between US$90 and $180.
The new Walkmanis are split into three families: the pendant-sized NW-E100 series, and the cigarette lighter-sized NW-E400 and NW-E500 groups.
The NW-E100 family includes 256MB, 512MB and 1 gigabyte (GB) models retailing at $99, $130 and $180, respectively. With a diameter slightly larger than a poker chip, the three players run on AAA batteries, which Sony says will give the user 70 hours of playback time on a single battery. With a backlit, two-line LCD display, the three models are available in five colors: silver, red, orange, blue, white and pink.
The NW-E100 models are a little more expensive than the iPod shuffle. The 512MB model is $31 more expensive than the 512MB shuffle at $99 and the 1GB model is also $31 more than the 1GB shuffle.
The NW-E400 series includes the 256MB NW-E403, the 512MB NW-E405 and the 1GB NW-E407, costing $130, $150 and $180, respectively.
The pendant-sized NW-E100 series includes three models, the NW-E103, NW-E105 and NW-E107.
Sony is playing up the E400 series for its 50 hours of battery life compared to just 12 hours for the iPod shuffle. The models also have a quick charge function that delivers three hours of play with just three minutes of recharging. Also unlike the Shuffle, the Sony players have bright, 3-line organic EL displays. The models are available in red, black, blue and green colors.
The E500 series deliver the same capacity and battery life as the E400 series, but additionally deliver a built-in FM digital tuner for $20 more. The models are differentiated by silver, blue, pink, and gold colors.
The NW-E400 series includes the 256MB NW-E403, the 512MB NW-E405 and the 1GB NW-E407.
All the Walkman models include headphones and USB cable. The new Sony players also support the generic MP3 audio format, as well as its proprietary Atrac format.
All three model families will be available for purchase in April.