updated 01:20 pm EST, Tue January 9, 2007
Sony VAIO music streamer
A couple of smaller new products from Sony are the VAIO UX Premium Micro PC, and the VAIO WA1, also known as the the Wireless Digital Music Streamer. Click through for photos of both. As its name suggests, the WA1 lets you listen to computer audio elsewhere in your house via a wireless connection, using either an established network or a more direct "peer-to-peer" setup. A USB network interface is being bundled with the device. Formats supported by the WA1 include unprotected AAC, MP3, and WMA, as well as Sony's proprietary ATRAC. The company is pushing Live365 as the primary source of Internet radio. In addition to streamed content however, the WA1 can also hold 128MB of music onboard and play it directly from 8W stereo speakers. Control is handled through a remote, a touchscreen, or another audio player connected through a line-in port. Analog and S/PDIF outputs let you connect to a home stereo. A release date as yet to be announced, but it should retail for $350.
The VAIO UX Premium is a flash-based version of the current VAIO UX, which uses a 30GB, 4200rpm hard drive. The Premium switches to 32GB of flash, which should enable faster start-up and access times, as well as better battery life and less chance of memory damage. It should sell for $2,500, though like the WA1, no date has been set.