CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

MP3 Players

Have Sony and Creative waved the white flag?

Two of the iPod's direct competitors have released iPod-specific accessories. Have they thrown in the towel or is it just pragmatism winning over idealism?

commentary Two of the iPod's direct competitors have released iPod-specific accessories. Have they thrown in the towel or is it just pragmatism winning over idealism?

The other week, we attended Sony's press launch for all things audio. There was an avalanche of Bluetooth-enabled products -- try headphones, transceivers and adapters, speakers, Hi-Fis and car stereos. And there was the impressive, albeit pricey, NW-A808 Walkman which takes the fight to the iPod nano with its metallic good looks, superior audio (if previous Walkmans are anything to go by), brilliant screen and video player.

The thing that really caught my eye and got me thinking was Sony's new Digital Media Port which will begin appearing in its home theatre systems soon. Plugging into these Digital Media Ports will be separately available Walkman connectors, Bluetooth receivers and iPod cradles.

Coupled with Creative Labs' range of iPod speakers, which are only available overseas, it means that two of Apple's rivals in the MP3 player market are playing both sides of the field. Does this mean that some of the iPod-fighters are throwing in the towel? I don't think so. Well, at least, I certainly hope not.

Other manufacturers without their own line of MP3 players, like Pioneer with its VSXAX2AS, offer iPod support in their Hi-Fis straight out of the box. So in Sony's case, it's a pragmatic move to equip its home theatre systems with direct iPod connectivity. It could help them maintain or increase market share. At the very least it'll save its store staff from explaining why the latest and greatest Sony Hi-Fi doesn't support their beloved iPod.

As for Creative, having a range of portable iPod speakers, no matter how good, makes less sense. It clouds the minds of punters -- Will they stop selling/supporting my Zen? Are they admitting that the iPod is superior? -- and it distracts its engineers from the task of making iPod-fighting MP3 players and fleshing out the range of Zen accessories.

What do you think of Sony and Creative's moves into the field of iPod accessories? Share your thoughts with us below.