As hinted earlier, Sony has released its first flash-based music players compatible with the MP3 file format — the Walkman NW-E99 and $250 NW-E95. The NW-E99 ships with a 1GB flash card and costs approximately $300. The NW-E95 comes with a 512MB flash card and is priced at around $250 (200 Euros).
Sony’s European spokesman, Jean-Baptiste Duprieu, claims the new Walkmen are not designed to hold a user’s entire music library:
“These products are not necessarily designed for people who want their whole library of music in their pocket, but for those who want to put quite a bit of music in a player that you can wear around your neck.”
The smaller-than-a-credit-card drives weigh only 1.4 ounces, offer 70 hours of battery life, and can hold up to 23 or 46 CDs worth of music.
Unlike previous Sony digital players, the new Walkmen are not confined to using Sony’s proprietary ATRAC music format. Although Sony provides a utility for converting MP3 files to ATRAC format, some users find the extra conversion step cumbersome.
Currently there is no plan to sell the players in the U.S. where Apple’s iPod dominates the music player market.