In the 21st century Sony Walkmans are a strange thing. While the company's Walkman branded phones are improving rapidly it just doesn't seem capable of hitting the nail on the head when it comes to standalone devices. Could that be about to change?
Despite looking like a gazillion previous Walkman players, Sony's latest teeny tubular flash series suggests a return to common sense. Called the 'NWD-B100' the line's headlining feature is actually something it lacks: dedicated Sony software. Hooray!
Given that products like SoundStage have been Sony's Achilles heel for so long it appears the proprietary obsessed firm has finally done away with them in favour of simple drag and drop using the Windows interface. The B100 can also automatically search and copy across MP3 and WMA files in your 'My Music' folder ('Music' in Vista?) when changes are made to it or specific folders inside.
Helpful as this is however with the player coming in just 1GB (B103) and 2GB (B105) versions it is unlikely to sync with your entire music collection unless your tastes are unbelievably picky.
That said, storage is not this series' strength, portability is and weighing just 30g means these players are tiny enough for even the tightest leather leotard (oh yes, I'm talking to you... you know who you are). An FM tuner and six mode equaliser have also made it aboard.
Scheduled for a UK release in October these currently price-free players are unlikely to break the bank on arrival and will soon be available for pre-order on Sony Style. Just as importantly Sony may finally have got the message when it comes it hardware and software: the first you're great at – keep up the good work; the second you're truly terrible, steer well clear.