Tag Archives | Media Players

Sony, Bring This Android-Powered Walkman Over Here

One of the ongoing mysteries of consumer electronics is why the enormously popular iPod Touch has its market–touch-screen media players that can run apps–pretty much all to itself. (I still think you could make a nice Windows Phone-powered Touch competitor; Microsoft apparently isn’t interested.) But at Sony’s booth at CEATEC in Tokyo last week, there was a row of Walkman devices–and one of them, the NW-Z1000, is the Touch alternative I’ve been wondering about.

It’s got a 4.3″ display and runs Android–and while the user interface is in Japanese, limiting my ability to judge it, it looks quite nice. It’s coming out in December in Tokyo, but Sony apparently doesn’t have any plans to bring it to the U.S. I’d love to see see it get here, if only to see how it would fare against the iPod Touch.


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Zune HD Gets A Few New Apps

Microsoft may never build another piece of Zune hardware, but Microsoft is still moving forward with software for it, at least. On Wednesday, the company released nine new apps for Zune HD users, which owners can grab by heading  to the Zune Marketplace.

The apps include eight games: Finger Paint, Trash Throw, Slider Puzzle, ColorSpill, Splatter Bug, Vine Climb, Decoder Ring, and Tug-O-War. Microsoft has also released a calendar app. Updates for Email, Echoes, Zune Reader and Penalty! Flick Soccer were also part of the update.

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Philips Tries Its Hand at an “Android Touch”

One of the great mysteries of consumer electronics at the moment is why Apple’s extremely popular iPod Touch has had so little competition. It’ll get some in September, when Philips plans to release a media player called the GoGear Connect. I saw it today at a Philips event; it’s not the same gizmo as one of the same name which Philips demoed last Fall at the IFA conference in Berlin.

Unlike Samsung’s announced-but-as-yet-unreleased Galaxy Player, the GoGear Connect doesn’t bear an uncanny resemblance to the iPod Touch. At 3.2″, its capacitive screen is smaller, and a largish percentage of the front is devoted to hardware buttons. It has Wi-Fi, but doesn’t sport any cameras.

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Does the Zune HD Stand a Chance?

Zune HDMicrosoft has announced that the Zune HD is hitting stores on September 15th at prices that significantly undercut Apple’s iPod Touch, Microsoft has begun showing off the media player to journalists (not me, alas, but those who have seen it are enthusiastic). As before, it’s impressive from a specs standpoint, with 720p video output, HD radio capability, an OLED screen, and potent Nvidia graphics. In short, it’s promising. Does it have a shot at being what no Zune has been before it: a product that sells well enough to provide meaningful competition to the iPod?

I can’t provide a fully-baked take on that question until I’ve tried the Zune HD, but the most obvious and daunting challenge it faces is the fact that the iPod Touch piggybacks on the iPhone platform and therefore unlocks access to an amazing array of tens of thousands of applications. The Zune HD, if it lives up to its potential, will be what the iPod Touch was before Apple released the iPhone OS 2.0 software and opened the App Store: a slick media handheld with access to the Web via its browser.

I’m guessing, then, that for many follks who are drawn to the Zune HD’s hardware virtues and aggressive price enough to consider buying it instead of a Touch, the decision will boil down to this: App Store, or no App Store? It’ll be fascinating to see whether enough people don’t care about third-party programs to give the HD critical mass.

Apple has already inoculated the iPod Touch against unfavorable comparisons to the Zune HD to some extent through advertising that’s almost exclusively about the diversity of third-party apps–especially games. And we still don’t really know what the Zune-vs.-Touch comparison will look like, since Apple will almost certainly announce a new iPod Touch in September. It could be a little different from the current model or a major advance. (Side note: I think it would be kinda cool if Apple took the Touch on its own design journey over time rather than keeping it as “an iPhone without the phone”).

Then there’s the question of the Zune name. I sort of admire Microsoft for sticking with it–if nothing else, it shows persistence. The current Zune is a respectable old-school media player itself, but the Zune name feels permanently tarnished. It not only never acquired a tenth of the iPod’s coolness, but came to be associated (at least in the echo chamber of tech pundits) with failure. I still think it would make sense for the company to broaden the not-at-all-tarnished Xbox brand to encompass entertainment on devices of all sorts. But if that’s going to happen, it’s not happening now (even though there is evidence that Microsoft does want to broaden Xbox).

Of course, the best way to make Zune cool would be to release a cool Zune. What’s your take on whether the HD is, indeed, that Zune?


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Sony to Unveil a Touchscreen Walkman?

sonylogo[UPDATE: In the first version of this post I assumed this was a phone–as a commenter points out, that’s not part of the rumor. Post amended to reflect that…]

Sony Insider is reporting that Sony will use CES as the launchpad for the first touchscreen Walkman. It says that “trusted inside sources” have told it that the device will have a widescreen OLED display, 16GB or 32GB of memory, Wi-Fi, a Web browser, and YouTube integration, among other features. Oh, and an FM radio.

There’s nothing in this description that sounds particularly fanciful, but neither is there anything about the Sony Insider report that rings especially true. Especially since the “product shot” included with the story looks like someone whipped it up in Photoshop in a few minutes:
sonyinsidershot
I can do Photoshop as well as the next gossipmonger, and therefore have fashioned Technologizer’s own official mockup of what Sony’s device may look like–not a photograph, but an incredible simulation:

Sony Phone


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