updated 11:45 am EDT, Tue July 14, 2009
Sony Walkman E440 and B140
Sony on Tuesday upgraded its Walkman players with a Europe-first launch of one model and expansion of a second model into the continent. The E440 series is a significant update to Sony's core Walkman player with a larger, easier-to-reach button layout and a new Clear Audio engine that both improves stereo separation and bass response. An FM tuner with radio recording and a long 30-hour battery life carry over from earlier models.
Although drag-and-drop support still exists and lets it work with Macs as well as Windows PCs, the latter also gets a new video conversion tool to bring movies into a usable format. Sony continues to stress more universal formats with H.264, MPEG-4 and WMV9 (including protected WMV) supported in video, while AAC, MP3 and WMA are supported in audio.
The electronics giant has at the same time ported over the B140 series stick player. As seen in Japan, the update adds the Zappin feature that lets owners pick from music by listening to short samples of each track and saves listeners from having to look down at the player. While limited to MP3 and unprotected WMA for formats, it too receives an FM radio with recording. It also works with Macs and PCs through drag-and-drop loading.
Pricing and exact ship dates for either the E440 or B140 aren't available, though both are very likely to reach the US in the near future.