updated 08:35 am EDT, Wed May 13, 2009
Sony Walkman X Hits US
Sony today finally launched its first competition against the iPod touch in the US with the shipment of its Walkman X1000 series and the addition of a new, last-minute feature. In addition to a web browser and YouTube streaming video, the touchscreen Walkman now has a built-in Slacker Radio app; similar to Slacker's own device, the X1000 subscribes to music channels that automatically cache whenever the player is connected to Wi-Fi, supplying it with enough music to continue playing offline. It works with Slacker's free, three-channel service as well as its paid service, which gives more more control and lyrics while removing ads.
As Sony's flagship, the X1000 revolves around a 3-inch OLED screen with a unique interface with optional hardware controls and video skipping accomplished through finger swipes. The handheld is also relatively feature-rich and carries FM tuning along with a 33-hour music runtime and active noise cancellation through matching in-ear headphones. Format support includes AAC, MP3 and WMA and doesn't require that users run specific software; while drag-and-drop loading is possible on most operating systems, a Content Transfer app lets Windows owners sync their iTunes libraries.
Sony has effectively confirmed price leaks and asks as much as Apple, charging $299 for the 16GB X1051 and $399 for the 32GB X1061. Both should be available today.