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Sony takes on iPod Shuffle

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the battle-royale-for-your-ears dept.

Music 501

Ben writes "It seems that Sony has decided to take on Apple with a low cost flash based player that will go up against the Shuffle. Pocket-lint has the low down on some of the stats, as does the BBC and Engadget." The major improvement in my eyes is that some models have an FM tuner.

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Can I be the first to say, Yuk. (5, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878249)

IMHO they look like every other flash drive, apart from the circular one. It doesn't matter, I reckon Apple will be laughing all the way to the bank here - the press are describing it as "Sony takes on Apple's IPOD shuffle" - ie: they're already the de-facto standard in a market that's 2 months old.

The other comment is - what on earth are Sony smoking - they really need to learn about branding - the models are the NW-E103, NW-E105, NW-E107, NW-E405, NW-E407, NW-E505, NW-E507. Apart from 'bigger numbers are better' (which is a guess), what does that tell me ? What are the distinctions between them ? both in-range and between the ranges (presuming the E1xx, E4xx and E5xx are 3 distinct ranges).

Even I get this, and I write s/w for a living. You'd have thought someone in the highly-paid 'marketing director' position would have a clue too.

Simon

Re:Can I be the first to say, Yuk. (1)

cgoody (832534) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878313)

On top of that, they are pricing the same level storage for more money. And I still havent found a player with equal or better quality than the iPod.

Re:Can I be the first to say, Yuk. (1)

eggoeater (704775) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878417)

Yes, but it has a back-lit display. Not worth the premium to me, but I was also turned off by the fact that the shuffle doesn't have any display. I would have gladly paid $30 more for a display w/o backlight.

Re:Can I be the first to say, Yuk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878490)

The iPod shuffle has some rather odd additional lines in the USB Connector, I don't know what they're for, but it could possibly be used for Addons, like a remote/display similar to a Minidisc player.

Re:Can I be the first to say, Yuk. (1)

iowannaski (766150) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878506)

The display isn't backlit, it's OLED.

Re:Can I be the first to say, Yuk. (3, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878518)

I don't understand the complaint about not having a display. There's only going to be 120-240 songs on the sucker, so you know what you're going to load on to it, and you should be able recognize every single song on it within an instant of hearing it. If you're jogging, biking or even walking you probably don't want to take the time to look at your MP3 player to look at the display anyway.

Re:Can I be the first to say, Yuk. (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878483)

ie: they're already the de-facto standard in a market that's 2 months old.

The flash player market is only 2 months old? Pretty sure the flash player market has been around for 5 or 6 years!

Re:Can I be the first to say, Yuk. (5, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878485)

Even if they sorted that, price does matter. I realise that many people will pay for style and ease of use (hence why the iPod did so well despite the cost) but if you're trying to compete with a 'premium' player, the first thing you want to do is at least match the price.

"Until now, the complaint was that Sony products sold at a major premium," said Gregory Kukolj, general manager of the personal audio group in Europe...
...The 1Gb model will still cost £200 compared to Apple's iPod Shuffle at £99. The new models will feature a OLED display though.


If you're selling 1GB of flash at £30 more than a 6GB iPod mini, and you don't think that's "a major premium" I don't think an OLED screen is going to save you.

Re:Can I be the first to say, Yuk. (1)

j0shwalk3r (782780) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878531)

ie: they're already the de-facto standard in a market that's 2 months old.

You are doing the same thing. To say that an mp3 player built into a usb flash drive is a 2 month old market is saying that it didn't exist before Apple came along.

I've had one just like it for over a year and a half. Mine might not be as small or cute, but it even has a display.

Apple may have introduced the market to other big players, but it is by no means a new market.

FM Tuner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878252)

But I thought "radio was dead."

It's not dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878266)

It just sucks

Re:FM Tuner? (5, Funny)

fracai (796392) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878321)

yeah, something about video killing its star.

Re:FM Tuner? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878388)

But I thought "radio was dead."

Not yet, but they keep trying to kill themselves.

There's a few good stations left around, like KPIG, but I'm so sold on satellite that accidently hitting the FM tuner, while driving, is incredibly unwelcome.

Thing is, I bought the tuner because it could also play MP3's, which I have played a grand total of 0 to date.

I wonder at what point we'll be able to make MP3's of satellite broadcast to listen to later, in the manner we did with cassettes in the days of yore.

I, for one, would welcome it as I miss some great broadcasts on weekends while out cycling.

Re:FM Tuner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878533)


There are alot of places -- gyms esepcially, as they have TV sets at alot of places with the audio over FM -- that broadcast very short range FM transmissions. Being able to tune into those is a useful feature.

OMG (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878260)

SHE PISSED ON ME last night [xdfgf.com]

For real

It was awesome

FM Radio (3, Insightful)

linuxci (3530) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878264)

Never understood why all these rival players seem to include FM radios, if I wanted an FM radio I could use the one built in my phone (not sure what FM is doing in a phone either) but I never do because the quality on the move has never been that brilliant.

If they want to include a radio at least include a DAB one (the digital radio service in the UK).

Re:FM Radio (1)

Reignking (832642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878288)

I've never seen FM radio on a phone in the US...

Re:FM Radio (1)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878416)

I would imagine there would be no end to the list of things you haven't seen.

Re:FM Radio (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878330)

Never understood why all these rival players seem to include FM radios, if I wanted an FM radio I could use the one built in my phone (not sure what FM is doing in a phone either)

And I've never understood you anti-convergence guys. Think about it - if you happened to want to listen to the radio, you'd now be carrying three gadgets instead of just the one. Throw in an organiser too, and you're really starting to take the piss.

Re:FM Radio (2, Insightful)

linuxci (3530) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878382)

And I've never understood you anti-convergence guys. Think about it - if you happened to want to listen to the radio, you'd now be carrying three gadgets instead of just the one. Throw in an organiser too, and you're really starting to take the piss.


I'm not anti-convergence as long as the device can do the job well or not add anything to the cost. My experience with FM reception on small devices is the quality is not worth it. I actually listen to the radio a lot in the car because the quality is fine but I've never wanted to listen to it through my phone.

If they can say the radio doesn't add anything to the cost and doesn't make the device more complicated to use then fine - add it. Otherwise why bother to add something that hardly anyone would use?

Re:FM Radio (4, Interesting)

RonnyJ (651856) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878353)

I'd love to have both FM and AM on my mp3 player - the sound on AM might not be that good, but I enjoy listening to talk stations such as Radio 5 (a BBC news/sport channel in the UK). I'm sure basic FM/AM support wouldn't be too expensive, and I'd be swayed towards a model with this feature.

Yes, a DAB radio would be nice, but I don't really need it, and I think the extra cost would be too much for most people.

Re:FM Radio (2, Insightful)

sfid (33738) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878426)

> if I wanted an FM radio I could use the one built in my phone

Yeah, well, but then you also have to carry another pair of headphones because cell phones never seem to have a standard 3.5 mm plug. It seems strange to me that Nokia and SE don't include such a connector a phone nowadays with built in MP3 players in their phones (in addition to the FM radio which has been present in most models the last few years).

> If they want to include a radio at least include a DAB one (the digital radio service in the UK).

There are many reasons to be opposed to DAB as a whole (take a look at http://www.digitalradiotech.co.uk/ [digitalradiotech.co.uk] ), but I also believe receiving DAB is much more power hungry than receiving standard FM radio. Can anyone confirm this?

Re:FM Radio (0)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878431)

Never understood why all these rival players seem to include FM radios

It's uglier, klunkier, lamer in every way, but hey! It's got a FM radio!
Imagine, if we were in the 70's, that'd be awesome!

Re:FM Radio (2, Insightful)

3nuff (824173) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878434)

The whole reason that I have an iPod is so I don't have to listen to FM radio.

I suspect the majority of people who buy portable players do so because they don't like the selections that radio offers them. Why include another battery sucking feature that most people won't use?

Of course this is a generalization, but somehow I have a hunch it's true.

does fm tuner really add value to these? (3, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878272)

For me, the inclusion or addition of an FM tuner to an mp3 player has now become a negative rather than a plus. My experience has been the FM tuners are all pretty bad, and so the only conclusion I can draw is the FM tuner has been added solely for the sake of making it more attractive, not enhancing the quality of the user experience. So, more circuitry, more electronics to support a poorly implemented FM tuner just means more things to go wrong with the device.

Re:does fm tuner really add value to these? (2, Insightful)

bbahner (693829) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878532)

Often the TVs at the health clubs broadcast their audio over FM- each TV on a different station. And since it seems that everyone at my gym has white headphones, maybe Apple should consider the feature...

There are plenty of devices on the Market (0)

TheDoctorWho (858166) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878277)

Just walk into Best Buy and find about a dozenddevices that do plenty.

Voice Record, FM/AM Tuner etc etc, play it in your car through the FM dial, for around $120 of less for 512mb.

Plenty too choose from. Make the IPOD mini look like a joke in comparison.

Sony Shell (1)

teiresias (101481) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878278)

To me it looks like Sony is trying to get rid of their discman shells and decided why not let's make a compact flash player. And really 256MB, 512MB, and 1GB seems timid compared to the amount that could be in there. Heck, my mini practical fits in the biggest one.

What is this "FM" you speak of? (5, Funny)

carpe_noctem (457178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878280)

The major improvement in my eyes is that some models have an FM tuner.

Well, I guess that's -kind- of like the shuffle... I mean, you still know exactly what songs are going to be played, you just don't know the order.

Pop Music Uncertainty Principal? (4, Funny)

Myriad (89793) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878487)

I mean, you still know exactly what songs are going to be played, you just don't know the order.

I do believe we now have a new theory of the universe: The Pop Music Uncertainty Principal

You can know what station is playing crap, but not in what order.
Or, you know now what crap will be played, but not on which station.

This explains a lot...

Blockwars [blockwars.com] : free, multiplayer, Tetris like game.

I want AM (4, Insightful)

Aggrazel (13616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878281)

Dang it, why is it so hard to find an MP3 player with a decent AM radio built in? I keep my portable AM radio in my pocket right next to my mp3 player and it has no problem with interference when the MP3 part is turned off. I use it to listen to baseball games... would be nice to have it all on one device.

Re:I want AM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878358)

me too, you wouldn't believe how hard it is to get a portable Vorbis player with decent vinyl player built-in.

Re:I want AM (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878360)

..And I'd like an iPod with FLAC support, or how about OGG support? Oh, and how about an Intel chip with an integrated memory controller? Or a video card with swappable DDR2 ram?

Us tech geeks have plenty of wants. The problem is we represent a very small percentage of the population, and therefore, "we don't matter". AM is a technology soon to disappear altogether with the emergence of Satellite radio, Microwave-based wireless techologies (I can't wait to see a WiFi-based MP3 Player, play streams directly from the Internet!!).. very much like the way of UHF and VHF television. We live in a digital age.

So I'm sorry to tell you but you might be toting around that Portable AM player until AM's doomsday.

Re:I want AM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878398)

AM is a technology soon to disappear altogether with the emergence of Satellite radio, Microwave-based wireless techologies

There are plenty of programs you can't get on those mediums, for free anyway. Nor is it very convenient to carry around a satellite receiver (which requires a subscription) to listen to Michael Savage.

Re:I want AM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878511)

I'd count not having to listen to Savage as a blessing.

Re:I want AM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878491)

I can't wait to see a WiFi-based MP3 Player, play streams directly from the Internet!!)..

Whoever does that first will sell them to every gym in the country. I want one.

The problem with AM (3, Informative)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878390)

The problem with AM is two fold. First, the wavelengths are much longer, so the small antennas can't pick them up as well. Second, AM has to have the amplitude of the signal preserved perfectly during amplification or you get distortion in the audio quality. In FM you can distort the hell out of the original signal, you just care about the fruency it is at. This makes AM tuners harder to implement than FM tuners.

It's more a problem of the technology behind AM than anything else. Not that they don't want to implement it.

Re:The problem with AM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878530)

You ever try to make your own FM stereo decoder? It's much harder than an AM tuner where you can just use a heterodyne circuit piped into an amp. FM is easier if you ignore the stereo subcarrier, but most people are going to demand it. You don't have to be "perfectly preserve" the amplification of the AM signal, just enough so the quality is listenable. You're always going to get some distortion on AM, and modern amps certainly aren't going to add any extra distortion.

FM tuners are a one-chip solution that they crank out by the billions. An AM tuner would add a couple cents for little marginal benefit, and you're largely right about the antenna, as a decent one would add extra weight and bulk -- not much (it can be coiled pretty tight), but enough to make a difference in cost.

Re:I want AM (1)

Tenebrious1 (530949) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878433)

Dang it, why is it so hard to find an MP3 player with a decent AM radio built in? I keep my portable AM radio in my pocket right next to my mp3 player and it has no problem with interference when the MP3 part is turned off. I use it to listen to baseball games... would be nice to have it all on one device.

FM radio can use the headphone wire as an antenna. AM requires a completely different antenna, one that would double the size of these devices and still have crappy reception.

I'd like the AM radio for traffic and weather, but as you say it's rare to find AM in any device nowadays.

Article Text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878285)

Sony takes on Apple's iPod Shuffle

News story posted on 08 March 2005 11:46 AM GMT by Stuart Miles

Sony has launched a new line-up of flash based MP3 players to tackle Apple's iPod Shuffle. The new models will start at 256Mb of memory and cost under £70.

"Until now, the complaint was that Sony products sold at a major premium," said Gregory Kukolj, general manager of the personal audio group in Europe.

Sony's new flash memory players are equipped with chips capable of storing 256 megabytes, 512 megabytes or one gigabyte of data. Sony also said that the new devices would have 50 hours of battery life with the ability to play for 3 hours will a charge of just 3 minutes.

The 1Gb model will still cost £200 compared to Apple's iPod Shuffle at £99. The new models will feature a OLED display though.

The new models - called the NW-E103, NW-E105 and NW-E107 will weigh less than one ounce and are about the size of a poker chip. They offer up to 70 hours of continuous playback on one "AAA" battery and feature a backlit LCD for easy viewing of track information. The models connect directly to a PC's USB port enabling high speed transfer of data.

Sony also launched the 400 and 500 Series of Players today; NW-E405, NW-E407, NW-E505 and NW-E507.

The devices provide up to 50 hours of continuous playback on a rechargeable battery and feature a quick-charge function that enables three hours of playback on a time-saving, three-minute charge directly from your PC via USB. Sony also state that you'll be able to achieve 80% charge in about 45 minutes.

The NW-E405 model is offered in dark blue with 512 MB of storage while the NW-E407 has a contemporary black finish and 1GB of built-in memory.

The NW-E505 and NW-E507 models include an FM tuner.

The NW-E505 has 512 MB of capacity and comes in a choice of light blue or pink both with a chic, metallic finish. The NW-E507 is offered in silver with 1 GB of storage.

The new models will be on show at CeBit the technology show in Germany.

Pocket-lint will be attending the show so will keep you post on any further developments.

Which Sony (4, Funny)

Skraut (545247) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878286)

Ok is this the Music Sony we hate, or the Gaming Sony we Love... It's electronics, but it has to do with music. Arrrgh I don't know if I should love this or hate this. Somebody tell me I can't think on my own.

Re:Which Sony (1)

bazio (864132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878430)

"Somebody tell me I can't think on my own."
OK, you can't think on your own.

Oh, maybe you meant "Somebody tell me, I can't think on my own." In that case, you're hosed either way. You either hate it and get the fanboys all riled up, or you love it and get the anti-fanboys steamed. Or you could do what I do: "I'm sorry, I am not prepared to make a statement either way at this time. However, I will support the right of all involved parties to their particular point of view."

Nice and noncommittal.

Re:Which Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878460)

We all hate Gaming Sony too now, for all the mediocre tripe on the PS2.

Re:Which Sony (4, Funny)

Mold (136317) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878500)

Doesn't matter. It's competing against Apple, so you have to switch to Apple fanboy mode.

Really, we need some official rules on how to post.

Here's how you rate the people/organizations posted though:

1) Apple
2) Garage / Lego nerds
4) Everyone not on this list
5) US Government
6) RIAA/MPAA
7) Yakov Smirnoff

Or something.

This should be in the /. FAQ (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878534)

Ok is this the Music Sony we hate, or the Gaming Sony we Love... It's electronics, but it has to do with music. Arrrgh I don't know if I should love this or hate this. Somebody tell me I can't think on my own.

It's the Sony that's competing with the iPod: Therefore we hate them.

And to save you future mental anguish:
When the PSP comes out it'll be the gaming Sony that's competing with Nokia's N-Gage, so we'll love Sony that day. As far as content-provider Sony, we despise them... except when they make Spider Man movies.

they don't get it (2, Insightful)

goalive (729667) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878291)

It's not iTunes compatible! What Sony and other companies just don't get is that the software behind the iPod hardware is what drives the sales. iTunes is an excellent player. The only problem is, if you use it you can't sync with any hardware except Apple iPod hardware. For millions of people this isn't an issue, and it's a small but very important point that Sony and others forget.

Re:they don't get it (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878440)

iTunes isn't any different to all the software that's out there... it even has some things missing (doesn't support folder.jpg for example).

If you mean the store.. that's only attractive to those who don't mind paying physical media prices for a lossy compressed copy.

Re:they don't get it (1)

jackelfish (831732) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878448)

I have a Creative Muvo Slim and it is recognized perfectly in iTunes on my iBook. Well not so perfectly, the resource forks on the files sometimes cause some problems with playback but this is rare and all you have to do is open a terminal and delete them all before disconnecting. There is actually software around to do this, or you could easily write your own script.

Re:they don't get it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878467)

And how can they (any company for that matter) make it compatible with iTunes? Even if they found a way , Apple would rapidly do everything in there power making it incompatible really fast.

I know i'm on ./ and you are really only allowed to flame on M$ about this things but... .

Re:they don't get it (2, Insightful)

Dominatus (796241) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878486)

Right, I see a ton of college students going. "Damn I wish I could get a portable mp3 player that worked with iTunes, I just so love iTunes. I hear there's one out there, an eye...pod? Yeah that's it."

No. People want iPods for iPods, because their sleek sexy and trendy. Every *single* person I know only started using iTunes to listen to music *after* they got an ipod, not before. iPod sales drive iTunes usage, not the other way around.

I don't see why they don't all have tuners (4, Informative)

skintigh2 (456496) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878298)

I bought my iRiver iHP-140 40GB player because it had a tuner and ogg support. The only other one I considered was one with a built-in FM transmitter, but that thing was a brick and seemed to have supply issues. You'd think for the cost of the iPod (twice what mine cost) it would at least have a tuner.

I suppose I should mention WHY I want the tuner... (1)

skintigh2 (456496) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878341)

If I made a top ten reason why I wanted my player it would be
1) use at the gym
2) use at the gym
3) use at the gym ...

There are a bunch of TVs there, each tuned to a different channel and broadcasting their sound on FM.

Anyway, I don't go to that or any gym anymore, but I still use the tuner at work.

Sort out the software.. (5, Insightful)

tabkey12 (851759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878299)

I actually think these new players look rather good but I would never buy one. Why? Because of the truly appalling software that Sony gives out to sync your computer with your player.

It conforms to NO Human Interface Guidelines at all, it has huge amounts of extremely choppy and pointless animations and is such a CPU hog that it doesn't respond even when the only application open on a 2.6GHz P4 laptop. Quite unbelievable.

Now if I could sync it with iTunes, that would be another matter.

Re:Sort out the software.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878468)

Really; they don't need sync software at all.

Just use the USB mass storage system (appears as a drive/device on most OSs).

User uses the OS filemanager to drag files of supported formats to the device.

Play back those files.

No Muss / No Fuss.

You'd think someone would have thought of that...

(oh, wait...)

Re:Sort out the software.. (1)

jackelfish (831732) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878484)

I actually had to sell my minidisc player beacause I detested the sonicstage software so much. However, it looks like these new players may support mp3 directly (perhaps just like every other flash player by plugging it into your usb port) I have yet to see this specification though. That said, why not just go out and buy any of the other 50 models of flash player out there? I do not see Sony bringing anything new to the table. At least the shuffle is somewhat unique.

Re:Sort out the software.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878515)

After suffering with SonicStage after getting a net MD two years ago, I'll never buy another Sony product that requires the use of it.

Never have I had a piece of software be more fusturating or annoying in my life.

Kind of ugly- (1)

thewldisntenuff (778302) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878300)

looking things, if you ask me. Apple has some very nice design when it comes to mp3 players, IMHO.

But (good for Sony), the players all have native mp3 support....I always hated the fact that they used their propretary ATARC3 for minidisc players

-Chris

All our prayers are with you, Sony (4, Funny)

Leo McGarry (843676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878305)

We can only pray that it goes as well as it did the last time Sony took on an iPod [slashdot.org] .

Nice (3, Insightful)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878307)

Personally, I think it looks like a pretty good competitor. It definately looks good [pocket-lint.co.uk] , it has a display, charges from USB and comes with a decent battery life.

However, as we all know, Sony are a music company too which means that however great this is, they'll crippled or fudge it up in some spectacular way meaning that, yet again, it'll be a flop.

My guess is that it'll be the required usage of SonicStage.

Re:Nice (4, Informative)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878365)

My guess is that it'll be the required usage of SonicStage.

Damn, I should have read the press release [sony.com] (emphasis mine):

The new Network Walkman models easily play back both MP3 and ATRAC3®/3plus(TM) music files, as well as support WMA and WAV formats. They are compatible with Sony's Connect(TM) online music store and include SonicStage® software to import, manage and transfer music collections.

Oh well, never mind Sony. Better luck next time.

Re:That kills it for me too. Sorry try again Sony. (1)

guidryp (702488) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878480)

Unless it just plugs as a storage device to drag and drop on any computer without software it is out, out, out....

Mind you the various Ipods are in the same boat.

I believe Sandisk has proper drag, drop n play operation on any platform.

Ipod competitors (2, Insightful)

Danathar (267989) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878311)

Stats don't matter, style does.

Apple understands style, SONY only understands style sometimes.

There have been other MP3/flash players that have better stats than the Ipod or the Ipod Flash. People buy these things cause it's "cool" to have an Ipod.

Re:Ipod competitors (4, Insightful)

emilymildew (646109) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878537)

Insightful? Do you think the iPods would have become popular if they weren't really easy to use and had a great interface?

Jesus. Not everybody is a slave to fashion. I hate when people say that they're bought because they're cool. They BECAME cool because they work better than anything else out there for the majority of people's use.

whaaaaaah? (2, Funny)

revery (456516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878322)

Sony unveils new MP3 playing screwdriver [pocket-lint.co.uk] ... Steve Jobs cowers in mock fear on way to bank...

Is anyone buying this?

Ousted Sony CEO was given iPod as Gift (4, Interesting)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878325)

As a retirement gift this week, the ousted Sony CEO (Nobuyuki Idei) was given an iPod [siliconvalley.com] of all things! He didn't find it very funny considering he is famous for declining Apple's offer to participate in the iTunes music store.

wow...lame.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878327)

ugly. costs more. hold less. no itunes.

where's the news?

everybody claims to have an "ipod killer" but there isn't one company that can claim success.

i'm getting tired of these "stories". How about something about the adoption of these new products? Especially Creatives players (which suck).

That would be news. Nothing to see here.

Kudo to Apple... (2, Insightful)

AmoHongos (467830) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878334)

for marketing the inability to see what track is playing as a "feature." Life may be random, but I want control of my music.

Re:Kudo to Apple... (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878492)

hat moron listens to his/her music and does not know what the song is?

Re:Kudo to Apple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878496)

>for marketing the inability to see what track is playing as a "feature."

don't you know what track is playing from, y'know, what it sounds like?

>Life may be random, but I want control of my music

are your fingers too broken to either push the next song button or to turn off the shuffle feature?

Every month (4, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878335)

Every month, someone "takes on" an iPod. The next month, we don't hear about them again.

FM tuner? I can buy one of those as an accessory add-on thanks to the burgeoning "iPod economy," as Jobs puts it. I even have that FM broadcaster that lets me dial into the frequency with my car radio to hear my iPod through my car speakers without any special hookups.

I don't see Sony's player going anywhere. They feature a display, which Apple abandoned as being pointless in a tiny flash player (and they're right). And it's still more expensive.

Re:Every month (2, Insightful)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878504)

"I don't see Sony's player going anywhere. They feature a display, which Apple abandoned as being pointless in a tiny flash player (and they're right). And it's still more expensive."

Yeah cycling through 100+ songs(512 version) trying to find a song is really enjoyable.

Built in FM Radios are brilliant (0)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878337)

I have a lot of music on my iRiver, but sometimes I just don't want to listen to any of it, and rather than spend half my journey hopelessly flicking from one album to the next, I simply just stick on the radio.

Some of the DJs in the UK are very good and put me in a good mood first thing in the morning. I do fear though that I'm becoming one of those weirdos that suddenly bursts out laughing in the middle of the street for no reason whatsoever.

Sony may actually have something here (5, Interesting)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878342)

A 70 hour battery life on a AAA? A 3 minute quick charge that lasts 3 hours and at max charge 50? These are things that some people look for and can use. Those are insane battery life spans for something like this will be a real selling point. The IPod Shuffle only offers up to 12 hours at most currently. I can't remember how many times I've tried to turn on my MP3 player only to find it was dead, having forgoten to put it on the charger or replace the battery. With lifespans like these, one would only need to recharge once a week in most cases, vs. once every day or two for the shuffle.

Now all we need to do is find out if the audio quality is just as good.

Re:Sony may actually have something here (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878478)

Sony are really good at battery life. Minidisc players seem to last months (I think my old one has had maybe 3 batteries in it in its lifetime - and that's a standard AAA).

The ipod seems to need charging once every couple of weeks which is a pain.

Competition is good... (1)

MLopat (848735) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878343)

Well most people on Slashdot seem to love Apple, and therefore they love the iPod. I'm all for sony taking a run at the market and at least giving them some competition to potentially drive the prices down or better yet expand the features of the current series of iPod's to perhaps include WMA support and a service other than iTunes.

One big note to consider, is that in a recent survey of baby-boomers, they were more likely to buy the Sony brandname than *any* other brand name in audio/visual home equipment. So with some good marketing, we might see out 50 something year old fathers jamming to a Sony sPod.

Not LCD... OLED! (1)

slashd'oh (234025) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878348)

"The major improvement in my eyes is that some models have an FM tuner."

My eyes don't care about an FM tuner, they care about the nice "backlit LCD screen" but according to Engadget [engadget.com] these will have OLED screens, which (from the pictures) look sweet!

OLED @ Wikipedia (2, Informative)

slashd'oh (234025) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878415)

Wikipedia OLED [wikipedia.org] :

"An organic light-emitting diode (OLED) is a light-emitting diode (LED) made of semiconducting organic polymers. These devices promise to be much cheaper to fabricate than inorganic LEDs. Varying amounts of OLEDs can be deposited in arrays on a screen using simple "printing" methods to create a graphical colour display, for use as television screens, computer displays, portable system screens, and in advertising and information board applications. OLED panels may also be used as lighting devices. OLEDs are available as distributed sources while the inorganic LEDs are point sources of light. Prior to standardization, OLED technology was also referred to as OEL or Organic Electro-Luminescence.

One of the great benefits of an OLED display over the traditional LCD displays found in computer displays is that OLED displays don't require a backlight to function. This means that they draw far less power and they can be used with small portable devices which have mostly been using monochrome low-resolution displays to conserve power. This will also mean that they will be able to last for long periods of time with the same amount of battery charge."

(but wait, there's more [wikipedia.org] !)

Actually comparable? (2, Insightful)

Danimoth (852665) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878351)

"None of these'll be out for a couple more months, but the NW-E405 will sell for $130, the NW-407 for $180, the NW-E505 for $150, while the NW-E507 rounds things out at $200." Seeing how they wont be released for a few more months, and are (at the higher ends) closer in price to an iPod mini (with 4x the capacity) than to a Shuffle, I don't really see these as all that comprable in any other form that size.

The major drawback (2, Insightful)

ABaumann (748617) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878352)

Apple has already got people hooked on iTunes. Until a "better" service/program comes out, people will continue to use iTunes. And when they want to play their music on the go, they'll get an iPod. (or an iPod Shuffle if you want something portable)

Apple has simply done with the music industry what they've already done with their computers. They've made software that's so good that it's almost (and is, in my case) worth it to pay more for hardware that will work with said software.

Doubts (4, Interesting)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878355)

I'm not convinced that the features are worth the extra cost. Is a tiny screen and the extra battery life really worth paying 50-100% more than the iPod shuffle?

The iPod isn't a blazing success because of technical superiority; the iPod isn't a blazing success because of crazy mad features. The iPod is a success because it does what it was designed to do very, very well--better than the players that boast eternal battery life, radio tuners, wireless, video playback, more storage, more audio formats, lower prices, and smaller packages.

It's about finding the right balance--and based on what I'm seeing, I don't think that Sony's upcoming offering will succeed at striking that balance.

From Sony? (1)

Kimos (859729) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878356)

This is very different for them... In my experience from selling Sony mp3 players, they were usually very expensive and targeted to a smaller customer base. Most of their focus was, in my observation, on their MiniDisc Players.

Not competitor w/ shuffle (1)

Reignking (832642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878368)

1) higher price ($99 v $150) 2) has a screen 3) fm tuner Yup, its another flash-based player, not an iPod Shuffle competitor. The Shuffle was made to be the bare-bones entry point.

personal jukebox/ipod/ramble (1)

ruxxell (819349) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878370)

you know, back in 2000 I bought a Personal Jukebox [compaq.com] with 7 gigs of storage.

it always cracks me up when people talk about the technological advancements made by the two key players in the mp3 player industry, when items such as that existed over 5 years ago and smoked the hell out of anything that came out for the next 2 years.

i blame poor marketing on compaq's part... they could have also been a key player. good luck to sony. nowadays (especially in boston) it doesn't matter if the mp3 player had a friggin' time machine in it, if it's not an iPod, people don't want them. because they all want their friends to know that they are COOL and HIP and have enough money to frivolously blow on a "cute white mp3 player".

fuck the iPod. I hope sony can at least dent their market share.

Re:personal jukebox/ipod/ramble (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878451)

it amazes me how hateful some one is when it comes to something that is popular. The fact that it is an Apple product seems to cause that much more Ire in the geek world.

you want to know something? outside the geek world NO ONE GIVES A FLYING FUCK.

More importantly. (2, Interesting)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878377)

Sony now has a new CEO. [zdnet.com] The new CEO is a media and content proponent rather than a hardware man like his predecessor of ten years.

This will most likely mean a shift for Sony from being a hardware company to a content company. It will also mean hightend interest in DRM and copy protection on Sony's part.

Personally, I think it's a big mistake for Sony to forget "their old slogan".

Sony -- Because caucasians are too damn big!

The price point (2, Interesting)

MetaPhyzx (212830) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878383)

...across the board still seems higher than what Apple sells the iPod Shuffle at.

Ironic though that after all these years of complaining about the high cost of Apple computers, all of a sudden it hard for others to beat the quality, user experience, AND price point Apple does? *shrug*

Why The iPod Reigns Supreme... (4, Insightful)

WombatControl (74685) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878418)

I'm convinced that every time some product is touted as the "iPod Killer" it's destined to be a flop. This Sony design won't be any different.

Why do people buy a flash music player like the Shuffle? To listen to music. The problem with competing with the Shuffle is that it serves one purpose and does it well. Trying to compete with it on features can easily raise the price so that it's no longer price competitive.

The other big reason is that the Shuffle is being driven by the success of the iTunes Music Store. Any other player doesn't work with the most popular online music store. Any player that wants to compete with the iPod has to either play iTMS songs (which Apple won't do for obvious reasons) or have a music store that's better than the iTMS. So far none of the competition even comes close. They either have horrible interfaces, bloated prices, or draconian DRM -- and most of the time they have all three.

Unless Sony can not only create a flash player that's cheaper, but a music store that's better, they're not going to put much of a dent in the iPod's sales figures. Personally, I don't see Sony doing either of these things.

The iPod Shuffle works because it's small, cheap, stylish, has the benefit of iTunes' excellent UI, and works with the iTunes Music Store. The Sony player is Yet Another Flash Player, and it won't sell necessarily better than an iRiver, Rio, etc. would.

A great product from Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878422)

Sure the Shuffle is cool but how does that compare with the OLED display on this new player? Personaly I like the way Sony products look over the look of Apple.

The shuffle won't stay the way is it. (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878425)

Period.

It will have a screen in the future and it will eventually have a FM tuner (it is built into the chip).

Apple scaled out the features with the first iPod (touch wheel, screens, ect) and they will with the shuffle as well. You will get the people that bought the first gen to dump out money for the better ones as they come out as well.

Re:The shuffle won't stay the way is it. (5, Insightful)

tabkey12 (851759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878526)

Wrong

Apple has always shied away from features it doesn't want enabled in their product but which are supported by the hardware. For example, all iPods since 3rd gen have been able to play WMA! But Apple never enabled it. The original iPod OS can control FireWire CD Burners - Apple never enabled that feature. It would be trivial (and cost nearly nothing) to add an FM Tuner to the entire iPod range, but Apple thinks (right IMO) that people buy Music players, not radios, and complicating a product with extra unused features is not a good thing.

In fact, looking at the original iPod to the Click Wheel iPod, apart from the Click Wheel itself, what has changed about the way you interact and use the player? Actually very little, when you think about it.

Re: FM Tuners on mp3 players (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11878435)

I notice that the FM reception of most portable music players is pretty poor-you can typically receive only the strongest signals from the mega-broadcasters, which I don't want to listen to.

Also, it seems that the performance of theses units is dependent on using the earphones for antennaes-which means that the reception is spotty, depending on how the earphones/receiver is oriented. This makes it almost imposible to listen to the radio while moving around.

Does anybody know if there are any mp3/fm tuner combos out there that don't suffer from this problem?

They still don't get it... (4, Insightful)

mblase (200735) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878436)

...The iPod, in any incarnation, has three advantages going for it: style, ease of use, and iTunes integration. The iPod Shuffle is no exception. 256MB MP3 players are plenty common these days; Sony's competing with them, not with the iPod Shuffle. The only real similarity it has to the iPod is the form factor.

I know that iTunes integration is something only Apple can do, but if you can get the ease-of-use going, then you can at least sport Microsoft integration. And somehow, nobody gets the ease-of-use thing working. They keep thinking that they can beat Apple on price, which isn't really relevant now that Apple has a $100 iPod. Sure, you can make another MP3 player for $50 or $75, but it doesn't take long to compare features and decide the extra $25 or $50 is worth it.

Get it right, manufacturers -- your target is ease-of-use, not price or size. The iPod has proved that there are enough people who will pay for quality (and fashion, I'll admit it) to make it worth catering to them.

How could I forget (1, Funny)

Michalson (638911) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878453)

Nothing exists until Apple makes it. Obviously the small, cheap flash based player market didn't exist until the Apple Shuffle. Since the Shuffle didn't have it, any kind of display is a "new" feature. Same goes for an FM tuner.

With the iPod it's almost understandable how the Mac faithful believe all harddrive based players revolve around the iPod (while being years late, it did introduce harddrive players to a more friendly form factor).

With shuffle there is no excuse other then pure cult thinking. Thumbdrive mp3 players have existed for years, and cover all areas of the market (from ultra cheap with very limited features like the what the Shuffle copied, all the way up to full display with all kinds of extras like recording and tuners).

NO! Here's their REAL shuffle competition (5, Insightful)

NYTrojan (682560) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878455)

Obviously sony isn't about to challenge the shuffle with a unit running 200 pounds+. Their real shuffle competition is $150 US, has a gig of space, and a display. It needs a AAA battery to run but does NOT have FM radio.

clicky [sonystyle.com]

Rock it? (1)

rbolkey (74093) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878459)

I didn't see anything about FM from the sonystyle page for the product, but this seemed novel (usefull or annoying, I don't know):
Easy Toggle Navigation: Navigate through tracks, albums and settings by using the large face of the product and "rock" it back and forth to make a selection.

Just my opinion (4, Insightful)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878464)

The major improvement in my eyes is that some models have an FM tuner.

I don't see this as an improvement, if radio had any quality programming we wouldn't need iPods.

Got a shuffle last week (1)

Bootle (816136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878465)

All I can say is it is heavenly

Good luck to Sony, cuz they got no shot in hell, at least not for a while....

What's the price? (1)

admiral2001 (518452) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878489)

From Pocket Lint:
The 1Gb model will still cost £200 compared to Apple's iPod Shuffle at £99. The new models will feature a OLED display though.

From BBC:
The new players have up to one gigabyte of storage and depending on which version, cost between $150 and $180.

So what's the price? The first quote makes it sound like it's about twice the cost of the Shuffle's $150, then about $300. The sceonds says that it should be around $150.
What's the price??

This comes from a proud owner of a 1Gb Shuffle. :-)

AppleSonyMicrosoft (1)

SPAMALOT (866020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878510)

I don't think that Sony would be able to take down Apple. Microsoft has been trying to do it for several years now, and Apple is still going strong.... Wait, nevermind that last statement. 24.119.169.210

Why have a tuner? (1)

spagthorpe (111133) | more than 9 years ago | (#11878529)

I don't know about most people, but the whole reason I have an iPod, and take my music with me, is because I'm sick of the garbage that is played on the radio, and the endless stream of commercials that I'm forced to listen to. Why do you now want to add that back into the unit?
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