Sony confirms touch-screen X-Series Walkman

At CES 2009, Sony reveals its first touch-screen MP3 player.

Sony

Looks like my fellow MP3 editor Donald Bell is gonna have to eat some words , although he was right about one thing: we won't be seeing a touch-screen MP3 player from Sony all that soon in the States. You're going to have to wait until May to get your hands on the X-Series Walkman, which was officially announced at CES 2009. I can wait longer than that, personally, because while this player has some sweet features, there's something about the look of it that comes off as just a touch generic to me. Still, Sony tends to do a good job of giving its portables a nice, solid feel, so I suppose I'll wait to cast my final judgment until tomorrow when I get to lay hands on the player for a photo shoot. (Stay tuned for a slide show a bit later this week.)

In the meantime, about those features: there are a lot of them. The X-Series Walkman offers a three inch OLED display with wide-screen-format compatibility. While the majority of control is taken care of on the touch screen, the player also offers an array of tactile keys, including a dedicated volume toggle and a prominent home button; Sony calls this a "hybrid operation system." Extras include an FM tuner and integrated Wi-Fi, which will allow for automatic podcast updating and streaming from content providers such as YouTube, which you may recall is not presently available on the iPod Touch. The X-Series will offer a fairly wide array of content support--MP3, WMA, AAC, and L-PCM (WAV) on the audio side and AVC(H.264/AVC), MPEG-4, and WMV for video (and that WMV includes the protected variety offered by sites such as Amazon Video On Demand).

Considering the already-impressive audio quality offered by the Sony Walkman line, we weren't expecting much of an improvement in this area on the X-Series. However, Sony asserts that this player will sound even better than any predecessors, thanks to its new Digital Clear Audio Technologies and "S-Master" Digital Amplifier. Also, as with the S-Series, the X-Series will offer integrated noise-canceling functionality and complementing headphones.

The X-Series will be available in 16GB and 32GB capacities, and while Sony wouldn't release an estimated MSRP due to fluctuating flash pricing, I was able to confirm that it will be priced competitively when compared to the iPod Touch. Natch.

About the author

    Since 2003, Jasmine France has worked at CNET covering everything from scanners to keyboards to GPS devices to MP3 players. She currently cohosts the Crave podcast and spends the majority of her time testing headphones, music software, and mobile apps.

     

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