New Flash based, brightly coloured, itsy bitsy, teeny weeny MP3 players keep brand alive and kicking.
The Walkman brand has been an iconic name in the music player industry for 20 years and Sony has sold literally millions of audio devices off the back of it. Of course, now it is rivalled by a certain company that makes Macs and likes to package things in white, but if you are still a bit old school you’ll be pleased to know this dog has some new tricks.
In the first of three fresh product lines announced today we have the NW-E100 series, a super tiny (26g) range of Edam cheese-like MP3 players (yes I said MP3, Sony’s got native support now, remember). The NW-E103, E105 and E107 will have 256MB, 512MB and 1GB of Flash memory respectively and a whopping 70 hours of battery life. If you are like a certain Features Editor at TR who does not want his player to be any larger than a £2 coin you may well be in Lulliputian heaven right now. (Does that phrase sound dodgy to anyone but me? Thought so.)
Next up from the King of Proprietary Technology is the E400 series, a slinky, if BIC lighter-ish range with a really cool three line display that I can only describe as colour-coded (Sony calls them “Organic EL”, but I like mine better). The NW-E403, E405 and E407 will ship in the same ascending capacities at the E100s. Battery life is a highly respectable 50 hours, while a neat feature is the Super Quick Charge function with gives three hours of playback off a three minute charge. Great when you are rushing out the house and you realise your player is out of juice.
Topping off the announcements are the E500s which (in case you are questioning the photo above) are identical to the E400s except that they come with an inbuilt FM digital tuner. Sony says the E500 players’ ”“storage is incomparable”” but in fact they are directly comparable to not only the E400s but also the E100s with the E503, E505 and E507 having the same 256MB, 512MB and 1GB subdivisions.
If you’ve got a serious inching for one of these lines (you can get cream for that) good news is they will dance onto shelves in April. Pricing is a little unclear at the moment because although Sony claims you can pre-order these new Walkmans from its site now, nothing is currently listed. We spoke directly to a Sony rep who confirmed this problem with us and she was only able to give partial details. What she could price is the E103 for £69, E105: £79, E405: £99.01, E407: £129 and E507: £159; all include VAT.
We’ll update you with the costs for the others when we get them.
The E107 will be £99.99 and E403: £89.99, still no word on the E503 and E505…
Some light has been shed on the E503 and E505. Sony has informed us it has no plans to release either in the UK. So that clears that up.