August 18, 2005 11:42 AM PDT

Sony looks for musical magic from Walkman Beans

Sony is getting curvy and colorful with its latest digital Walkman offering.

The new NW-E300 series of kidney-shaped, flash-based devices--also known by the catchier name of Walkman Beans--is the latest in a string of music players from the company once synonymous with portable tunes. In recent years, like many other companies, Sony has been playing catch-up with the iPod from market maestro Apple Computer.

The Beans play both MP3 and Atrac music files, and also support the WMA and WAV formats. They're compatible with Sony's Connect online music service. An FM tuner is built in.

In addition, the devices feature an organic electroluminescent three-line display and a pop-up USB jack that allows connection to a PC for battery charging and music transfers. Sony puts the continuous playback time at 50 hours, and a quick-charge function allows three hours of playback on a three-minute charge.

Pricing is set at about $130 for the NW-E305, which has 512MB of storage, and about $180 for the NW-E307, with 1GB of storage. Four colors are available: white or blue for the 512MB model, and black or pink for the 1GB version.

The new Walkman players are due in October, but Sony began taking preorders Thursday.

3 comments

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No Yahoo Music, Napster, Rhapsody, FYE...
I hate it when hardware makers make a device that's only compatible with their own music service. Since this won't work with Yahoo Music's unlimited downloads (or similar offerings from Napster, Rhapsody and FYE), I'm not interested in this.
Posted by mistergoodman (20 comments )
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they are mp3 compatible...
what more could you ask for? if yahoo, napster, etc, are breaking their songs by making them incompatible with devices that play mp3s, then they are to blame.
Posted by Sam Papelbon (242 comments )
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Sony doesn't know beans about being an iPod Killer (Pass The Beano)
Let's spill the beans on Sony's "latest iPod Killers"...

Apple Flash iPod Shuffle @ 1GB : $129.00 (WIN/MAC)
Sony's Walkman Flash Bean 1GB $179.00
Sony Network Flash Walkman 1GB $199.00

Apple Flash iPod Shuffle @ 512 MB : $99.00 (WIN/MAC)
Sony Psyc Network Walkman Flash MP3 @ 512MB: $99.99.

Sony's "iTunes Killer" Software for Win/Mac?
Sony's "World wide huge iTunes Music Store Killer" ?

The MP3 game's over for you Sony, you're outta gas.
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
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