Sony Copies iPod Shuffle

edesignuk

Moderator emeritus
Original poster
Mar 25, 2002
19,077
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London, England
Sony tackles Apple's iPod shuffle

Consumer electronics giant Sony has unveiled a range of MP3 players which use flash memory to store songs.



The devices are pitched into a competitive market recently swelled by the addition of Apple's iPod shuffle.

Unlike hard disk-based players, flash devices hold fewer songs, using solid state memory rather than a disk.

The Sony line-up includes MP3 players which hold a similar number of songs to the iPod shuffle - about 250 - but the players have much longer battery life.

The new players have up to one gigabyte of storage and depending on which version, cost between $150 and $180.

Sony said the new devices would have 50 hours of battery life - compared to the Shuffle's 12 - and they also come with a small display screen.

Apple has made much of the fact its Shuffle does not have a display, and has marketed the random playback of its device as a selling point.

Sony admitted it had to recover ground in the digital music player market.

"We know we've been behind a bit," said Kelly Davis, a Sony product manager for digital players.

"But we definitely want to be a strong contender in 2005."

Industry analysts have welcomed the new models and predict Sony will make an impact.

"It's like the empire strikes back," said Richard Doherty of The Envisioneering Group.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4328415.stm
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
21,652
123
I quite like the look of them but unless they offer an integrated software interface for them like iTunes, I can't see them taking off in the same way... still, competition is a good thing when it comes to manufacturing technology.
 

Mr_Ed

macrumors 6502
Mar 10, 2004
443
8
North and east of Mickeyland
Others may feel differently, but I find small displays useless unless I have my reading glasses on (I'm farsighted). I'm sure these will sell just based on the Sony brand name, but I don't think it will be a huge impact on iPod Shuffle sales.
 

iGav

macrumors G3
Mar 9, 2002
9,025
1
Saw these a while ago on a design site, and I have to say I like them, really innovative design, especially the integrated screens. They certainly have that air of quality and sophistication about them... somewhat reminiscent of a perfume bottle.

Sony and Yujin Morisawa are bang up there with Apple and Ive for design excellence, but as BV as pointed out it'll be the software integration that wll really determine if they are to be successful.
 

MongoTheGeek

macrumors 68040
iGav said:
Saw these a while ago on a design site, and I have to say I like them, really innovative design, especially the integrated screens. They certainly have that air of quality and sophistication about them... somewhat reminiscent of a perfume bottle.

Sony and Yujin Morisawa are bang up there with Apple and Ive for design excellence, but as BV as pointed out it'll be the software integration that wll really determine if they are to be successful.
Yeah but if I can grab a folder from Itunes and drag it onto player like a shared disk what does it matter?

Write an applescript and to do that for me.

Duck soup.

The screens are bubkis. Who needs screens. It only holds 250 songs well within what people can remember. The only thing the shuffle needs is a fast forward 10 songs button.

I love the longer battery life though and I do think the sony is prettier
 

cheekyspanky

macrumors 6502a
Jan 21, 2004
633
1
South Bucks, UK
I really like the look of them, as iGav said, they look quite like perfume bottles. Depending on how easy they are to use I would happily choose one over a shuffle.
 

rt_brained

macrumors 6502a
Jan 13, 2002
554
0
Creativille
My immediate impression was that they looked less like perfume bottles and more like mini flasks...which makes more sense to me as you have to be either HIGH or DRUNK to buy into Sony's ATRAC/MP3 program.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,817
37
Andover, MA
Funky look, but I still prefer my 512MB Shuffle. 50 hour battery life is not what I need in this category - just enough to last me on errands, trips, etc - which the Shuffle does just fine - and you can't beat iTunes integration, as others have said.
 

zelmo

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2004
5,490
1
Mac since 7.5
I like the way they look, maybe even more than the Shuffle. 50 hours of charge time is great, but not something you really need in a device designed to hold maybe 12 hours of music.
 

asif786

macrumors 65816
Jun 17, 2004
1,027
0
London, UK.
These players sure do look nice, but I bet the interface on them is terrible :/

with regards to the 50 hour battery life - I guess that's sort of useful - but my iShuffle certainly lasts much longer than 12 hours without charging, and 50 is a bit excessive.

Still, these players would do well, if it wasnt for the software they come with. I'm being 100% honest when I say that the 'sonicstage' software these players come with is possibly the worst piece of sw ever written - and yes, I'm speaking from experience.

so, if they sort the software out, they could have a winner on their hands (i think, sorta) :)
 

the future

macrumors 65816
Jul 17, 2002
1,484
1,170
The decisions Sony makes are just so erratic and confusing. Their "walkman phone" W800, introduced last week, supports mp3 and AAC (but not WMA or ATRAC); now their shuffle challengers support mp3, WMA and ATRAC, but not AAC. Which rules them out completely (for me). Well, that would rule them out (for me) if no iTunes integration (autofill!), being almost twice as heavy as the shuffle and availability sometime in the fall of 2005 hadn't already ruled them out (for me). :)
 

dsharits

macrumors 68000
Jun 19, 2004
1,639
0
Plant City, FL
Hmmm, same amount of songs (at a lower bitrate), more expensive, longer battery life, and super fugly. Thanks, I'll take the Shuffle.

Daniel
 

Fredstar

macrumors 6502a
Nov 3, 2004
595
0
Near London
I love the design, really innovative and nice. If Sony came out with this a year ago, with the HD-3 and invested money and time in making good software then they would be the market leader. Simple as that, they have entered way too late but still might steal some market share from Apple.
Depending on the price i would love one, but i have already got a Shuffle and that meets my needs.
 

mduser63

macrumors 68040
Nov 9, 2004
3,038
30
Salt Lake City, UT
To be honest I think I'd rather buy one of these than an iPod shuffle, assuming they're Mac compatible. I love the way they look, and the OLED screen (also present on Sony's new high end MD recorder) is really cool. BTW, I haven't seen in mentioned on Macrumors, but Sony has finally added native MP3 playback capability to their Minidisc line, and is fairly obviously targeting potential iPod buyers with the new MD units.
 

johnnyjibbs

macrumors 68030
Sep 18, 2003
2,958
119
London, UK
I think these MP3 players do look very stylish indeed - much nicer than the iPod shuffle I must admit, judging by the pictures.

But again, Sony has priced it high and it will probably have difficult-to-use, unintegrated software that will not work with Macs, etc. At least Sony supports MP3 format now though.

I think my iPod will still do though :p
 

rainman::|:|

macrumors 603
Feb 2, 2002
5,438
2
iowa
Some of them may support an OLED display while some of them may have longer battery life... are they going to release a ton of models, or is it russian roulette? Sony is repeating a mistake Apple has made enough times to have learned: Don't overpopulate your model lines, it just confuses the already confused consumer. "wait, do i want the one with better battery, or the one with... wait, what format does it use? wait, here's an iPod shuffle, nevermind." If there's one thing the iPod showed us, it's that bells and whistles are a *bad* think on a dedicated device...
 

Savage Henry

macrumors 65816
I was never a supporter of the design concept surrounding the market the Shuffle sought to enter ... and to be honest, I don't think much of the Shuffle efforts. Sony has scored a few more points, not many, but at least they are upping the ante.

Personally, it looks like I won't be going flash based for a long while yet.