back to article Sony takes on iPod Touch with Walkman X

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Too little, too late

So they've copied the Touch's interface, but included fewer built-in apps and there's no App Store for extending its capabilities. And no method of directly purchasing music (like the iTunes Store - not exactly a dealbreaker for me, but might be for some). The screen might be nice, but then the iPhone's screen is pretty damn good, so I guess the Touch's is the same. And despite what some reviews say, the iPhone sounds perfectly good so I'd expect the Touch to be similar. Plus no mention of sync software etc, and Sony's has been notoriously bad in the past. I know iTunes isn't everyone's favourite bit of software (it makes more sense on a Mac than in Windows, in my experience), but it does make it very simple to work with your portable of choice.

So apart from saving about a tenner, what's the point of buying the Sony? More restricted, limited and almost certainly harder to operate, without the software/media ecosystem or the third-party/hardware ecosystem either. Sorry, no sale...

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Such a pity...

Sony used to be an innovative company, now they're only able to follow the competition a year or two after said competition has moved on. They've even copied Cover Flow for christ's sake! As to its appearance, it just looks fat and ugly. No wonder they're $1bn up shit creek.

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Where was the footage taken?

It looks like a Jubilee line carriage but I'm guessing it's one of the trains taken out of service.

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title

Just when you thought ripping off the iphone/ipod touch couldn't get any more shameless...

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Another rip off

Comes to somthing when even a giant company like Sony can't come up with their own ideas and just badly copy iPod touch features like Cover Flow.

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just what Ive been waiting for

Quite fancied the functionality of the ipod touch but there was no way i was touching an ipod

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nice...

have sony said if it will still have a drag n'drop file system for putting mp3's on it like the regular sony mp3 walkmen? if it does, I'll have one.

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Unhappy

Got one of these...

... it's awesome for sound quality - seriously, nothing even comes close.

Youtube is perfect, the OLED display works wonderfully, and the movies/picture browsing is excellent.

So why, Sony, why did you make the browser so totally crap? :|

Netfront... mobile phone browsing. With the lovely touchscreen and acres of screen, we have to use a crap WAP based browser? There isn't even a way to force it to be used like a normal browser.

This is supposed to be a direct competitor to the Touch, but seriously, that, and the usual lack of 3rd party software support (it appears to all be Java based), means that, even though it is technically superior in every way, it still just has that missing feature that would probably appeal to many people.

Battery life is good tho...

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No Bluetooth?!

...no fun

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Oh yes...

Can't wait!

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Alien

looks nice...

but it's sony. who buys sony these days? drm and other such nonsense put me off them a long time ago.

apple has the app store. will we be able to create apps for this? thought not. will stick with my drm laden ipod ironically.

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Too dear

This will be a flop at those prices!

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Just checked and...

Just like the IPod it does not support Ogg Vorbis or FLAC which makes up a good chunk of my music collection so it rates as craptacular on my scale.

I will not be rushing out and buying it. But they "Oh, it's shiny" brigade will be drooling over it.

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really nice screen, pity about...

... YouTube linking from/to everything? but seriously

Not gonna fly.

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Got one of these two

Im with AC1, a truly great device let down by a poor attempt at web browser although mobile sites work very well.

For file transfer it supports drag n' drop or Windows Media Player & for all these moaners re DRM & Sony software.... You're over a year out of date.

Atrac has died a death & a bit of official software is now available that strips all the DRM out of any Atrac files you have, also does a great job of converting collections to an equivalent MP3 bitrate. I dont see Apple doing that for free.....

The built in noise cancellation also works really well (just be sure to select the right setting for the ambient noise) also comes supplied with a lead that will allow you to use NC on anything with a 3.5mm audio out & battery life as with all Sony stuff is great.

After looking through the manual it does appear that firmware updates could be available to offer more features & as yet the Sony support site doesnt even have a page for it so here's hoping tweaks to the browser will become available, Opera Mini would be the cherry on the cake but maybe thats a hope too far...

Not everyone is blinded by the Apple RDF light & if you can see past the fasionista crowd telling what to buy you will be very happy with one.

One final thing - I know OGG FLAC et al sound the braap and all that but seriously, when hooked up to a decent hi-fi maybe. Its just not a suitabe format for a portable device where the whole idea of a player of this type is to take 1000's of tracks out & about. 320k MP3 will sound no different to your beloved lossless formats.

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Better than iTinCan

But way to expensive.

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How the mighty have fallen

Poor Sony, they brought us the Walkman but were so caught up in pushing the MiniDisc format they completely missed the MP3 train. Now they're catching up, but they've still some way to go: iTunes store, compatibility, browsing, bluetooth, core applications, installed applications, GPS, (magnetometer), WiFi, applications, SDK, games...

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but why buy the Sony when you can have the real thing? The market doesn't need a copy, the market needs innovation.

However, it will be interesting to see the inevitable phone that's based on this platform. Apple's Achilles heel is the iPhone lock-in with AT&T, O2, etc. Maybe Sony will sell a few if they can develop a decent iDog copy that's available across mobile operators.

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Paris Hilton

Oh dear

They should employ me as the product technical designer, then at least they would be in the running for a good product.

In fact, if I'm too pricey, they could employ my manbag cat Tiddles .. she has a keen eye for things like this.

Paris cuz she could be my manbag pussy if Tiddles goes to work for Sonny .. err Sony

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Sony follow where others lead

Sony used to be a good electronics company (no self-respecting James Bond villain was without his Sony monitors to watch exploding helicopters on), now they seem to be more of a brand than an electronics company. Shame. As someone cleverer than me already commented, "too little too late".

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videos suspicious

The video demos were suspiciously static shots. I'm guessing moving pictures, like the kind i would expect from say, a movie, don't look so good.

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Tom
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Same old crap with a nice screen.

It's a Sony so...

It will sound great, but

- Like Apple it will have poor format support.

- It will come with crappy/buggy software to convert other formats, so you end up using something else to do the job.

- There will be walled gardens, so you will have to jump through hoops to use what YOU want.

Only a few people will buy one for the sound quality, but most people think an iPod sounds fine and will not see any reason to buy the Sony. I think the single biggest error is using some crappy phone WAP browser in place of a real web browser like opera.

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sound quality

thats what puts this and other walkmans above apples fashion accesories.

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wow

Thats got to be one of the first touch screen devices I actually want

Nice one sony

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Happy

Mobile?

What is that red/pink (depending on the camera's white balance, bet it's a Sony) cord doing hanging out of the back of the Walkman?

Is it some sort of prototype anti-theft device? You know the type, steal me. steal my train!

It appears to be attached to the carriage somehow. It also looks very amateurish and makeshift, not to say Heath-Robinson. Doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in the manufacturer...

Also, the (presumably) rather large headphone jack, surely it's not a power jack!? sticking out the top, screaming out to get smashed off when the train lurches...

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Sony vs ipos

iTouch has iTunes so won't go there. So this plays mp3 and youtube, what about video formats, divx, mkv, xvid? at what resolution, speed etc? Looks nice, but pricey, impressed with that short vid clip but that review, I'm sorry to say, sucked balls. 5.5 / 10

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Flame

Sony

(Why is that man talking about those features as if they are something new..? Has he never seen an iPod or something..?)

Wonder how Sony will manage to cripple it. I mean, it's Sony, so you know there will be at least one thing that totally defeats the purpose of the device - like maybe you have to send it off along with your CDs and their purchase receipts to have your CDs transferred into it by Sony or something, or perhaps it wont play back until you pass a DNA test taken by the device, or maybe it will only play back music that was recorded from an analogue source (like their crippleware Minidisc platform) or maybe it will only play certain approved genres of music, or refuses to play when connected to anything that would mean that more than one person might hear the music at once.

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Pathetic

How long has the iPod Touch been out and this is the best ripoff Sony can manage? Copy copy copy FAIL.

Stick to making camcorders lads.

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@Just checked and...

If you insist on using twatty, pointless codecs in a failed attempt to look cool, you're gonna find your choices of hardware rather limited.

You clearly enjoy complaining and finding fault more than listening to music. You are very sad.

Why not encode all your music to something really stupid like APE so you can complain that NOTHING will play it. That'll make you feel really important, I imagine.

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Go

On the plus side

Better sound quality and better screen are a big pluses, considering it's a PMP.

For me the "no itunes for windows" is a very very big plus. I do have an ipod, and I hate the itunes sluggishness - and this on a 8GB, quad-core machine where everything else is much snappier. I consider it borderline malware.

I am not interested in the games and apps available for ipod touch, so I can live without them.

On the sync side this device can do Drag&Drop as well as Windows Media Player syncing - while not looking as slick as itunes for some, it is quite fast and very versatile.

Netfront ain't Safari that's clear, but it's not that bad. Anyway, I do have Opera 9.5 (and Iris Browser and Opera Mobile and Skype etc) on my phone so it's not that important for me.

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Flame

There was a time...

... when Sony were wonderful innovators and produced to-die-for, must-have products - very obviously the Walkman and then the recording Walkman. Mini-disc, Cameras and the rest were of very good quality and easy to use. But.

Then they stared to try to limit any third party peripheral interaction. Sony proprietary connectors, batteries, software etc. Bit like Microsoft actually, embrace and deny...

I mean, what is it with Sony-Ericsson phones and their inability to use the same synching method from one model to another? Every time you get a minor upgrade you lose synch and have to wait for some one to hack a new version of the file.

And I think the Sony Vaio should be called Sony Vile....

Can't see anything in this product that's going to worry the incumbent. As for sound quality, after putting up with audio cassette for years anything produced in the last ten is light years ahead. The biggest factor in the perceived quality of sound is in the headphones/ear buds, the same as loudspeakers are the biggest factor in the hi fi department.

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Linux

But...

Does it run linux?

:)

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Too little too late

What's it running? He didn't say. Is it Unix underneath -- like the iPod Touch (which actually runs OS X)? Are Sony using Linux perhaps? Is it Android?

Or is this thing just running Windows CE? Is it just a flash paint job on a rustbucket Trabant?

That's what I'd be interested to know.

It *seemed* quite nice -- so far as one could tell from that demo. But it didn't seem to be in the same class as the iPod Touch -- again, so far as one could tell from that demo. And the Touch has been out for a long time now.

And what's with all the physical buttons? Pointless, if it's multi-touch.

Quite nice, but nowhere near enough. Too little too late, I think.

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Dan
Coat

Not worth it, yet

Had a play with this in the sony store today, The screen really is impressive, but that's it's only strongpoint. Unfortunately the gibbons weren't able to supply a decent pair of headphones to demo, nor wifi, so can't comment on that. The noise cancelling feature was either faulty on the unit, or is just completely ineffective, even in the stores special 'background noise' pod.

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hmm

'drm and other such nonsense put me off them a long time ago.'

and Itunes works flawlessly, I suppose.

I have a Sony mp3 walkman here as I say - it doesnt give a f**k where I got my mp3's from, how many pc's I hold them on, and doesnt decide to delete my entire mp3 collection on a whim.

keep drinking the apple kool-aid - I'll stick with my Sony thank you.

'apple has the app store.'

with such gems as 'need to work out the tip in a restaurant? we have an app for that.'

erm, I've had an app for that on my phone for some time now - it's a thing called a CALCULATOR. and then only if you're so thick you cant do the mental arithmetic. but then if you are thick, I suppose that would be the explanation for paying for crap like this.

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Ill have two!

OLED screens look awesome so its worth it just for that, and looking at what Sony have done with the PS3, they do seem to be getting better at supporting other formats.

Best of all, its fantastic hearing the mactards get all defensive in this comments section.

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What do most people use the ipod touch for?

I guess the question is what do most people use the ipod touch for? Are they as app happy as the iphoners or do they mainly use it to listen to music and watch video's. If the latter then this might do well. If the former then not. I would suspect the readership of the reg is not a representative sample of the majority of ipod touch users out there.

As to the format the question is why would you want to put a lot less tracks on in FLAC when its easy to keeps the FLAC copies as your master versions but produce high rate MP3 versions that would be so close to the original on this equipment that you would have to be a pendent to be affected by any difference.

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Stop

32 GB Cowon S9

Get a 32GB Cowon S9 instead.

Ok it doesn't have a web browser but I didn't see the point in it on an mp3 player anyway. The Cowon supports a whole raft of formats (OGG, FLAC) also has amazing sound quality (also claims to be the best sound quality) and has the brillian OLED screen which is so crystal clear it has to be seen to be believed.

It also has quite a few flash apps and games to play with and the UI is totally customizable with a few really good ones done by some of the talented folks out there.

</SALES_PITCH)

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Blimey!

It's a bit fat and chunky isn't it? Why can Apple make the iPod touch so slim, but Sony can't?

There needs to be a good iPod touch competitor, but it doesn't seem as though this is it.

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@thomas newton

> I have a Sony mp3 walkman here as I say - it doesnt give a f**k where I got my mp3's from, how many pc's I hold them on, and doesnt decide to delete my entire mp3 collection on a whim.

Er, neither do any of Apple's iPods - right from the very first one released you have been able to load MP3s on them from ANY source. Which is more than can be said of Sony's earlier audio players. How long did it take Sony to start supporting MP3?

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Linux

@Chris (and other codec misunderstanders)

Chris, you make the device sound good. Am looking for something at the moment and this is on the list now.

As for OGG, well OGG is not a lossless format, it's a lossy format much like mp3. The difference is that you don't need to break the law to get free OGG creating software.

In various countries the MP3 algorithm is owned (By Thompson was it) and charged for and you could be sued for giving it away and not paying royalties. This is why mp3 support is often not enabled by default in linux.

That said, I use MP3, sod the legal side, because it's the defacto lingua-franca of music playing. Also I can't be arsed to re-rip my cd collection.

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@Ok it doesn't have a web browser but I didn't see the point in it on an mp3 player

Because its not just an mp3 player .. its a PMP and you might just want to be able to stream video to it, use it as a remote control (for your big hi-fi / tv /PC), send and receive email on it and checkout your favourite RSS feed (or twitter if you are dumb) .. oh and read The Register whilst out and about.

I have an ipod touch and a smartphone as a cheap iphone combo with some wifi <-> 3G routing software .... I'll upgrade to a new iphone next month if it comes out as the ipod touch experience has been excellent.

I've always wanted ubiquitous computing and the iphone / ipod touch are the closest thing to it that I've found over the last 30 years of computing. A single, multi-use device which is always connected to the Internet and can also play music at the same time and a superb user interface and excellent software that works.

Currently the ipod touch is my favourite gadget of all time and I have had quite a few over 42 years 8-)

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Stop

Confused...

Why the gaps in the steps?? i.e. the guy hits video and it skips to a video playing, why have they chopped out how you actually get to a video??

Does it take half an hour to start?? Is the video interface to horrible to show us?? Can it only hold one video at a time?? What gives??

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Does it come with the rope ?

I was just wondering does it come with 2 meters of heavy rope for attaching it to the wall ? Or, is that an optional extra ? :P

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@David Hicks

Thanks for the info re Ogg although I stand by my comment for FLAC, Ive never deeply looked into either tbh & as a previous Atrac user Im hardly one to talkbut hey, I went with what worked & sounded best for me. 256k Atrac was disc hungry but sounded tremendous.

Had more time to play with the unit now & can confirm that iplayer downloads (only tried ones optimised for mobile devices so far) will work although still locked down to the usual time constraints / licenses.

Audio podcast subscriptions also work a treat (utilises rss) & listening to one downloaded earlier goes even further to highlight the sound quality from this unit as top drawer. A huge amount of which is down to to earplug style phones but you cant get bass like this thing is kicking out now without them. Note the NC will only work with supplied headphones but I have been using a pair of EX71's for years & they are easily on par if not better.

One final point & I know it happens with the internetz but if you haven't even come within a mile of one of these devices please dont post uninformed chest puffing guff, you know who you are.

Ps, no I dont work for Sony, I just dont follow the crowd.

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@ Chris

"I just dont follow the crowd."

Sometimes the crowd are right. iPods kick the arse of everything else and always have, that's why they have a massive market share. Only self-hating, miserable people who love complaining see fit to torture themselves with inferior alternatives.

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Joke

*yawn*

No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Oh, wait, wrong web site.

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@Chris

> Ps, no I dont work for Sony, I just dont follow the crowd.

And in your endless quest to be different, end up buying inferior products just for the sake of it.

Generally there's a good reason why crowds follow a particular path. I guess you'd be the one running INTO the burning building, just be different eh?.

Anyway, how's the huge bulge in your pocket with this device?

> Note the NC will only work with supplied headphones

WHAT????? So that's acceptable from Sony, but not from Apple with the new Shuffle?

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Crowds

Hehe I knew that last bit would ruffle a few feathers with the AC's - who are these people?....

"And in your endless quest to be different, end up buying inferior products just for the sake of it."

I'll spin that right back at you, please substitute 'different' for 'the same as everyone else'.

Explain how my previous HD based Walkman is still working with decent battery life after 4+ years if its so inferior... how many 'updated' ipods have you been through/have sitting lame in a drawer, in that time? Inherent quality rather than obsolescence I suggest.

We all know Apple is only successful in this field thanks to the RDF marketing & the scroll wheel patent on previous models. Im not denying the success of the device, its the fact that buyers will accept less thinking they are getting more - the DRM backchat particularly gets my goat, Fairplay my a$$. Dont even get me started on the money milking machine that Apple players have become.

As for my bulge, its fine thanks but that crim will spot you with that tell tale shape in yours, (if its not already in your shirt pocket for maximum exposure) ;)

Touch Dimensions: 110×61.8×8 mm X1060 Dimensions: 96.5x 52 x 9.8 mm

I know the ladies love the width but not in my pocketable gadgets thanks......

Whilst Im here instead of working, the NC with bundled headphones beef - the phones have mic's built in so that the NC will work properly with the offending noise readings taken from exactly where they matter. These aren't your average throw away ones supplied with the white stuff. Go listen to one & you will see.

Sonyfanboi* out....

*Some one has to redress the balance.

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could have been

However Sony is a day late and a dollar short with this one. To expensive and to limited for a product that is obviously supposed to compete with the iPod touch. To bad to because I want to see Apple get some serious competition, it's the only way they will stay on top of their game. Otherwise they will succumb to the mistaken notion that they are untouchable (no pun intended) is this consumer space.

@.. hell 90%+ of the above comments. You lot really do need to get a life, it's only a music player for fucks sake. The bulk of the above is just blah blah blah whine bitch moan i hate apple and i'm going to toss my toys out of the crib (pram or insert your regional word for a playpen here) blah blah wine whine blah. Or blah blah blah bitch whine moan i hate sony and i'm going to toss my toys out of the crib blah whine bitch blah.

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Anonymous Coward

@Iam Me

Thats pretty much covers ALL the posters that post on most of the 'articles' here...

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