Sony NW-E505S Player
Sony’s late entries into the “mp3” market are starting to come at a rapid pace. Few people imagined that Sony would actually follow through on their promise to embrace MP3s in their digital audio players. Sony has already started with the HDD based players but they’re struggling to catch up with Apple who has recently started selling the iPod Shuffle flash-based players.
Sony’s forthcoming 512MB or 1GB (E407 model) entry looks darned sexy:
- OLED Screen
- FM Radio
- 50 hour lithium battery
- 37 grams
And yes, it has a screen. It’s my personal opinion that a 512MB+ type device needs to have some sort of a screen. I’ve been using a 512MB flash-based MP3 player for the last year and having a screen is absolutely necessary. I do use the random shuffle feature but I often want to hear a specific song or group of songs (like when I’m teaching dance class or when I’m at the gym working out). Without the option of having a screen to easily navigate to my music a device isn’t exactly useful.
What Sony will need to do is provide a better software interface. As a user of OpenMG Jukebox 1.0 to SonicStage 2.3, I must say that Sony’s software is absolutely atrocious. For the most part, most of Sony’s draconian DRM measures are gone or finally transparent which is good. However, the user interface of their software is cryptic and poorly designed. Sony has this fascination with creating their own interfaces which often waste screen real estate and don’t follow traditional user interface conventions. Allegedly, SonicStage 3.0 will be a complete rewrite that will finally be worthy of mention. For Sony’s new push into digital audio players, the end-to-end experience is going to have to be very good if they want a shot of claiming back some of the market place.