Wednesday, July 28, 2004 - The Mossberg Solution: Sony's iPod Killer - The Mossberg Solution: Sony's iPod Killer "For more than 2½ years, Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod digital music player has fended off every rival product handily, not only remaining the most popular digital music player, but becoming a cultural icon and spawning an industry of accessories and of legal music downloads.
Next month, however, the iPod will face its most potent competitor. This latest challenger is none other than Sony Corp., the Japanese giant that revolutionized portable music with its Walkman tape players 25 years ago. Sony, which has lost its leadership in portable music to Apple, will try to regain that crown with its first iPod-type high-capacity, hard-disk-based music player.
Our verdict: While the new Sony is smaller than the iPod and has much better battery life, it is markedly inferior overall. It has a confusing, complex user interface that makes it hard to use; weak software for the PC; an oddball music format that makes loading it with songs tedious; and a companion music download service that offers less than Apple's. The iPod wins this round, and remains champion.
If you love the Sony name, or the Walkman's size and design, or if you regularly take flights lasting more than 12 hours, you might be willing to pay $100 more for this new Walkman over an iPod. But, for everybody else, until Sony fixes the multitude of sins in this product, steer clear of it."
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