With yesterday’s announcement of three new, stylishly-designed Walkman players (two featuring video), I asked Brennan Mullin, Sony Electronics’ vice president for audio products, to submit this guest post below.
Hello, I’m Brennan Mullin and have been with Sony for the past six years, most recently heading up Sony’s audio business in the U.S. For the last few weeks I’ve been using the new A818 Walkman video player – the top of the line player in our newly released series. I encourage you to check out its cool design, bright screen and high-quality sound. The user interface is extremely easy to use, bright, and remarkably fast. Another great thing about it is its long battery life – now a well-known advantage that Sony’s players sport. I’ve been using the player for hours on end and haven’t recharged it yet.
Beyond the new hardware, it’s important to take a look at Sony’s Walkman strategy for these devices. These new players work with Windows Media Technology or WMT, which is an open platform developed by Microsoft that was designed to let people choose the music management software they like best. With the launch of our new players we will be phasing out the CONNECT music service over time, but not before March 2008. We’ve shifted our strategy in the U.S. from using the proprietary SonicStage software and ATRAC codec (despite its excellent sound quality) because we’ve realized when it comes to downloads of digital music for personal audio devices, it’s clear that American consumers want an open platform. They want choice. And I believe that choice goes beyond the “i”s in Pod and Tunes.
By the way, you can drag and drop files onto the new Walkman devices too.
These are the first players from Sony in the U.S. that support Windows Media Player 11 instead of the SonicStage application. Two of the new models are also the first to offer video and support two of the most commonly used video codecs (AVC Baseline and MPEG-4). The video quality is so crisp and clear that even when you pause an image in the middle of a movie it looks like a high-resolution still photo.
For audio, the new Walkman players support the WMDRM10 format for subscription music. Also, you can play MP3 and non-DRM AAC (including non-secure music from iTunes) files. That’s the majority of the music files out there.
Sony’s specialty has always been in hardware design, miniaturization and pristine audio/video quality. In my view, our new open-standard Walkman players live up to these expectations. From our tests and my personal usage, I’m convinced that these new players have superior sound quality and longer battery life when compared to other personal audio devices on the market with similar specs and pricing.
I invite you to give them a try and let us know what you think.
Sony Help or Support For questions or comments related to support, please click here.