Sony is going up or round five in the portable digital music player industry. The company was left behind in the dust when the industry leaped from CDs to MP3s. Rio, Creative, iRiver and most notably Apple came into the industry and quickly took strong market position, in an arena that Sony basically invested, portable audio. Well Sir Howard Stringer is not going to let the audio business that created the Walkman brand name just lay down and die, a top Sony executive said that they are prepping to launch new products for the market and try to up seat Apple Computer’s iPod.
The company is developing a new music player that will go on sale in the U.S. and other markets prior to March 2007, alongside a companion download service and software, said Takao Yuhara, senior vice president of Sony, at a briefing with reporters in Tokyo. The player will be “typically Sony,” he said, drawing on the company’s strength in areas like design and long battery life.
It is certainly a good move to either drastically alter or abandon their Connect music service but we hope that the Network Walkman USB stick is not the grand solution, because that is not going to up seat the iPod. If Sony really wants to succeed they need to be a pioneer and offer some sort of watermarked MP3 files so they can play on all players but can tracked to prevent illegal transferring.