Walkman redefined as MP3-playing mobile phone


13 Apr 2005

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BORDEAUX: Sony Ericsson is planning to roll out mobile phones with embedded Walkman MP3 players in July, siliconrepublic.com can reveal.

The president of Sony Europe Chris Deering said the partnership between Sony and Ericsson that was forged in 2001 is going from strength to strength and has yielded a range of products that has surpassed expectations in terms of technology breakthroughs.

In terms of audio, Deering said the world is only at the early stages of a digital music revolution driven by advances in two key areas; flash memory devices and hard disc storage devices.

“In Europe the market for flash memory music players has experienced 50pc growth in 2004. Later in 2005 Sony will be launching of new hard disc MP3 Walkmans, the HD5 series, which will boast 40 hours of playtime on one powered battery and can store 15,000 tracks. It will also come with internal g-sensors that adjust the screen according to gravity,” Deering said.

“Later this year we will see the launch of the Sony Ericsson Walkman phone,” he added. Siliconrepublic.com has learned that the first advent of this product, the W800 could possibly hit the marketplace as early as July. The move could come as a shock to other players in the market such as Motorola, which is working with Apple to roll out phones with iPod technologies later this year.

The first Sony Ericsson Walkman phone model to hit shops will be a standard GPRS phone but will boast a two megapixel camera and a Walkman capable of storing some 512MB of music. However, a newer version of the phone aimed for the Christmas market will be capable of storing some 4GB of music, equivalent to most iPod mini devices on the market at present. Sources at Sony Ericsson predict the W800 will retail for around €500.

“We looked carefully at what people want from a mobile digital music player and we have designed a product that fits the bill,” said Rikko Sakaguchi, senior vice-president, product and application planning at Sony Ericsson. “The W800 has great sound quality, is easy to use, has superb battery life and can store a large amount of music.”

By John Kennedy