Long before cell phones replaced MP3 players, before the iPod eliminated any trace of competition, there was one name that was synonymous with portable music: Walkman. Sony’s Walkman line has been through countless incarnations since its debut as a cassette player in 1979, but the latest might be the most interesting in recent memory. More →
Looking for the newest Android 2.1 device? Neither are we. That’s why it’s no surprise Sony Ericsson quietly launched the Walkman W8. It’s the first Android device to sport the firm’s “Walkman” moniker, which should imply it has more music-centric services, but we’re not seeing anything extraordinary in its spec sheet. It’s loaded with the Walkman music player software, although that’s nothing to call home about. The phone sports a 3-inch touchscreen display with a low 480 x 320 resolution and it also has a 3.2-megapixel camera, an FM radio, and 128MB of RAM. The Walkman W8 will make its debut in Asia in three colors, blue, red, and orange. Our jaws will hit the floor if this ever hit the U.S. marketing running its current OS.
For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re going to dive into the audio realm with the technology that was MiniDiscs. Remember back when exercising with a portable CD player was out of the question? First, you had to have the stamina to carry the hefty device around while shaking your bon-bon (click on link to get Ricky-rolled). Second, anything you were listening to on your CD Walkman was bound to end up sounding like a bad remix after the anti-skip protection (typically 10, 20, 45, or 60 seconds) ran out. Then, in 1992, in came the MiniDisc.
Reminiscent of CD-ROM cartridges found on the Apple Performa series of computers, the MiniDisc promised CD-quality audio, with skipping under only the most extreme conditions, in a compact package. MiniDisc players were smaller, sleeker, and definitely more attractive than the CD and cassette-based Walkman units available at the time. At its inception MiniDiscs could accommodate 74 or 80 minutes of music. In 2000, Sony added a technology to its devices dubbed MiniDisc Long Play (MDLP) which allowed the throttling of audio quality and storage of up to 320 minutes of audio on one 80 minute MiniDisc. The MiniDisc’s Achilles heel came in the fact that the format only supported minute-based, CD-style audio recordings. Support for MP3 storage and playback was not added until the mid-2000’s; by then the era of the hard drive and flash-based MP3 player had begun.
Unfortunately, this was a technology we invested in and we owned several portable MiniDisc players (even a MiniDisc deck). We are also conjuring up faint memories of high school friends bragging about bootlegging Dave Matthews Band concerts with portable MiniDisc recorders and high-quality microphones. How about you? Any MiniDisc memories, or did you manage to avoid the fad?
BGR Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear.
With the Zune HD on the horizon and a refreshed iPod touch looming, some might say it’s hard to even think about getting amped for Sony’s upcoming S Series and E Series Walkmans. Others however, might say these sleek and inexpensive players are just what the doctor ordered. Sony announced this morning that it would be bringing two new Walkman lines to market next month — the well-leaked S Series and the not-so-well-leaked E Series. Starting with the S Series, we’re looking at a 2.4-inch QVGA display, FM tuner with recording capability, built-in stereo speakers and up to 42 hours of audio/6.4 hours of video playback on a single charge (17 hours audio/5 hours video using the stereo speakers). The cheaper E Series is a much more basic player with a 2-inch display and none of the bells and whistles found on the S. Pricing is where things get interesting: The S Series will run $110 for the 8GB model and $130 for the 16GB model while the E Series will be $80 for 8GB and $100 for 16GB. Not bad at all.
Sony’s Ericsson’s day in the sun continues with the announcement of the AT&T-bound W518a. Slim and sleek, this clamshell Walkman phone packs as much music-centric functionality as it can into a tight little package. Highlights include “Shake Control” technology that allows users to shuffle, skip and control volume by shaking the handset, and “Gesture Control”, which lets users ignore incoming calls or snooze alarms by waving a hand over the camera lens. Pretty sweet. Beyond that, the W518a touts a host of social networking features — just like every other handset in the world these days — and of course the beloved Walkman music player. Pricing is set at a very reasonable $49.99 after rebates on a 2-year contract and like the C905a, this little guy will hit store shelves this Sunday, July 19th, Hit the jump for more angles.
If you had always been itching for some of that Sony Ericsson Walkman goodness but were hoping for something wrapped in a slightly more attainable package, this is your bag. Sony Ericsson has just announced the W205 and W205a Walkman phones, a pair Sony Ericsson promises to be the most affordable handsets to ever grace its Walkman line. Highlights:
- Enjoy your music with the high quality Walkman experience
- FM radio – catch up with the latest news and views
- TrackID – name that tune at a press of a button
- 1.3 megapixel camera – take great shots and share the fun instantly
- Video recording – capture your favorite moments on film
- Bluetooth™ – share your favorite songs, pictures and video clips, or connect to a wireless headset
- Multiple phonebook – keep your contacts in order and share your mobile phone with your family
- Memory Stick Micro (M2) support up to 2GB
While the press release throws the word “affordable” around willy nilly, no pricing information has been provided at this point. There’s also no word on exactly when the W205 or W205a will be released — SE says they’re both expected to launch within three months — though we do notice that USA is missing from the W205a’s local availability list despite the presence of GSM 850/1900. This either means a carrier deal is still in the works or SE is skipping the US — and we doubt many BGR readers will miss it. Besides, we’ve already seen plenty of new tween phones this week. Hit the jump for two more shots.
We’re not exactly sure this upcoming handset from Sony Ericsson is deserving of renowned 90lb supermodel’s name — even as a codename — but slender form or not, the SE Twiggy is the star of a new round of live shots. Rumored to have been canceled (and it very well still might be), the Twiggy is a Walkman phone with a thin flip above the keypad common to various Sony Ericsson handsets over the years. In this new iteration, the face of the flip cover is home to a single touch-sensitive play/pause button. Nifty, but we would’ve liked to see forward and back buttons as well of course, as are present on the face of the W350. Beyond that, little is known about the music phone other than the fact that it has a 3.2 megapixel camera on the back. Canceled? Still in the works? It’s hard to care with the Rachael fresh on our minds. Hit the jump for more shots.
Having long since been given the green light for sale in the US by the FCC, Sony Ericsson announced today that the unlocked W995a Walkman will go on sale July 6th at Sony Style locations across the US. Identical to the W995 Walkman in every way save for the inclusion of a tri-band UMTS/HSPA (850/1800/1900MHz) radio, the W995a is the type of device that we’d like to see SE continue to push out alongside smartphones like the Satio. Here’s why: a 2.6-inch QVGA display, 8.1 megapixel camera with auto focus, image stabilization and face detection, video calling, Wi-Fi, aGPS, FM radio with RDS, Media Go, Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support and a 3.5mm headphone jack can all be yours, unlocked, for around $600. Pretty appealing, is it not?
We’ve known is was coming for a while and now thanks to the FCC, we can safely say it won’t be long before Sony Ericsson’s new Walkman phone hits AT&T. The W518a is a pretty decent entry/mid-range clam shell for those into music phones:
- Quad band GSM and dual band HSDPA 850 and 1900
- 2.2-inch 240×320 pixel TFT internal display
- 1.1-inch 128×36 pixels external OLED display
- Stereo Bluetooth
- Walkman Player 3.0
- SenseMe, TrackID, Shake control and Gesture control
- 3.2 megapixel camera
- 100MB internal memory
- Memory Stick M2 support
- Changeable covers
- 93.5 x 50 x 14 mm, 98 grams
MediaNet and AT&T Music Store mentions confirm the W518a is bound for AT&T and assuming the carrier keeps the 2-year price way low, this little guy it could certainly be a hit with the younger crowd — amongst those who aren’t looking for a messenger, that is. No word yet on pricing or a release date but something tells us you won’t be losing much sleep over it. Hit the jump for more FCC shots.
Despite the recent wave of ho-hum handsets, Sony Ericsson’s W995 is one of a select few feature phones we’ve been secretly lusting after since it was announced back in February. Once known as the Hikaru, the W995 will be SE’s first Walkman phone to get in on the 8 megapixel action. The specs as you may recall, are pretty respectable — highlighted by the 8.1 megapixel shooter, 8GB of internal memory, 2.6-inch QVGA scratch-resistant screen, aGPS, Wi-Fi, stereo speakers and Walkman player 4.0 accompanied by dedicated media buttons. There is some bad news in all this however; this FCC approval makes no mention of the 850/1800/1900 MHz WCDMA bands we’re all looking forward to in the North American W995a. In fact, it doesn’t mention any WCDMA testing, though it does list the phone as HSPA-capable. As such, we’ll have to assume this is the Euro variant and we’ve got a bit more waiting to do before the North American version finally makes its way through the approval process. Hit the jump for a few more shots.
Sony’s highly anticipated OLED MP3 player, the X1000 series Walkman, is slated for launch on April 25th in Japan. The 3-inch touchscreen-sporting device will debut with 16GB and 32GB models that feature integrated noise cancellation, Walkman-specific Netfront web browser, YouTube support, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, wireless Podcast delivery, FM tuner and support for MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV audio / AVC, H.264, MPEG4, WMV video. The Walkman will be available in Black or Red with suggested retail prices of 40,000 yen ($400 USD) for the 16GB X1050 and 50,000 yen ($500 USD) for the 32GB X1060.
[Via PMP Today]
Sony unveiled its upcoming line of iPod Touch competitors earlier this year and much to the surprise of, well everyone, the X1000 series looks impressive. Very impressive in fact. If you can work your way past the marble finish, the X1000 Walkman has a lot going for it and now that the Sony Style Hong Kong site has pushed out the full detailed specs, we’re kind of excited to get our hands on a few of them. Here are the highlights:
- 3-inch (432 x 240 pixels) OLED touchscreen display
- 32GB storage
- NetFront web browser, YouTube support
- MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV audio / AVC, H.264, MPEG4, WMV video
- Integrated noise cancellation
- FM tuner
- 802.11g/b WiFi
- 33 hours of music playback, 9 hours of video playback
The one thing it doesn’t have of course, is the App Store. The hype and development community surrounding the iPod Touch will always give it a leg up on competitive offerings. If you’re looking to save some cash (hopefully) and forego the added functionality afforded by apps in exchange for some insane battery life however, the new Walkman might be just what the doctor ordered.
Sony Ericsson had the first press conference of MWC 2009 and used that opportunity to announce the W995, previously known as the Hikaru. The W995 is an 8 megapixel slider with 3.5mm headphone jack, stereo speakers, 2.6″ QVGA scratch-resistant screen, 118MB built-in memory, A-GPS with Google Maps and Wayfinder Navigator pre-installed, Wi-Fi and full PlayStation 3 compatibility. The phone also supports Sony Ericsson’s new Media Go service which allows you to easily transfer music, videos, photos and podcasts between your mobile phone and computer. This handset will be available in Progressive Black, Cosmic Silver and Energetic Red in select markets starting at the end of Q1 2009.
Sony Ericsson also unveiled the 12 megapixel Symbian-based Idou. The Idou will feature a Xenon flash, large 3.5″ 16:9 touchscreen and will be capable of “full media consumption”. The Idou does not have a model name yet and is expected to be available in the second half of 2009. Hit the jump for the press photo of the Idou.