If you've been drooling over the Sony's touch-screen Walkman, the X-Series, since it was initially announced at CES 2009, I've got some good news and some bad. The bad news is that you're going to have to wait some more--the player isn't expected to hit shelves for another month or so. (SonyStyle will start taking preorders today, however.) On the plus side, the good news is considerable. The new Walkman is a joy to use, and it packs in a cadre of fun features, not the least of which are onboard apps for YouTube and Slacker.
Yep, you read right: you can get all the free music you want on the X-Series Walkman. And unlike with the Apple iPod Touch, you won't need a constant Wi-Fi connection to have access to it. While the X-Series does include a wireless antenna for hopping on to hot spots, the Slacker app only needs access to the network when refreshing station content. Each time you refresh, music is cached to the Walkman so that you can listen to it wherever you are, regardless of Internet access. (In other words, it functions in exactly the same way as on the BlackBerry.)
The beauty here is threefold. First, the music is completely free, though you will have to tolerate a few audio ads and skip limits (you can do away with these by signing up for Slacker Radio Plus for $3.99 per month). Also, you don't have to spend countless hours creating custom playlists, and when you get sick of your library on shuffle, you can simply choose from the wide variety of genre- and decade-based stations in the Slacker rotation. Finally, you don't need to connect to a computer to get brand-new music on your MP3 player, although it is worth mentioning that you must hook up the Walkman initially in order to customize which stations you want to live on the device. In addition to the Slacker content, the player supports transferred songs in MP3, WMA, AAC, and WAV format.… Read more