Sony Says iPod, iSchmod

Jul 01, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

It doesn’t seem that long ago while walking or jogging you would see plenty of people doing the same with their headphones on and connected to a Sony Walkman.

Times have changed, however, and today you’re just as likely, if not more, to see people bopping around with earplugs in and connected to Apple Computer’s iPod or mini iPod.

Sony, for its part, wants to go back to the way things used to be.

The Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer announced it has developed a portable digital music player that not only has better features than an iPod, it also costs less.

The Sony Network Walkman NW-HD1 has a 20-gigabyte drive that can store up to 13,000 songs and it comes with a rechargeable battery the company says will last three times longer than the one used by Apple.

The NW-HD1 will retail in the U.S. for less than $400.

A 20-gigabyte iPod retails for $399 and can hold up to 5,000 songs. Apple’s top-of-the-line, 40-gigabyet iPod holds up to 10,000 songs and retails for $499.

Sony’s President, Kunitake Ando, is clear about the company’s intentions. “I don’t know if we can take this market back in a year … But this launch is our message that we will work hard to put an end to the dominance by just one company.”

Moderator’s Comment: Does Sony’s NW-HD1 pose a major threat to Apple’s iPod? Where do you see the music retailing
market headed?

If any company in this area could give Apple a run for its money, it would be Sony.

That said, however, we don’t see it happening.

Apple has the number one music player and music download service. It has no intention of giving either of those positions up and you can expect it will
grow through continued innovation.

Besides that, Apple’s iTunes format makes it more accessible, being able to address the needs of Windows users as well as those who use its OS X system.

According to a report from Reuters, the NW-HD1 will only play Sony’s proprietary ATRAC format. That means its player will not be compatible with online
stores other than its service and will not play MP3 format tunes.

George Anderson – Moderator

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