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Sony launches two feature-packed iPod speakers in Europe

Sony announced two Europe-bound iPod speakers, the NAS-Z200iR and CMT-Z100iR, with the former adding wireless access to music stored on a PC and internet radio.

Sony NAS-Z200iR with remote
Sony NAS-Z200iR with its unique iPod-style remote Sony

Sony on Tuesday announced the European-only NAS-Z200iR and CMT-Z100iR all-in-one iPod speakers, which feature a built-in iPod dock, slot-loading CD player, AM/FM radio, analog audio input port and USB port compatible with a Sony Walkman or any other MP3 player--no further details yet on compatibility. The step-up NAS-Z200iR also includes additional network streaming functionality, including PC streaming and Internet radio via DLNA certified Wi-Fi.

What really makes the NAS-Z200iR stand out, though, is its remote, an iPod-esque device with a 3.5-inch LCD display. With an onscreen display that looks like a slightly modified version of Sony's XMB interface, the rechargeable remote promises to control every aspect of the system from the comfort of your couch. While it might seem like overkill, it should certainly make browsing giant music libraries or extensive Internet radio lists a bit easier. We wouldn't want to lose the remote, though, as the base unit's minimalist design is virtually devoid of any buttons.

The pricing of the unit definitely borrows more from the remote's excess than the speaker's minimalism. Engadget is reporting that the NAS-Z200iR will run for 699 euros, or about $1,000, according to a German press release. Keep in mind though that overseas pricing is often significantly different, so we'll be on the lookout for a domestic release (the European release date for the CMT-Z100iR is July and September for the NAS-Z200iR).

The NAS-Z200iR piqued our interest because we're currently in the process of reviewing another wireless, iPod compatible system from Sony, the AIR-SA20PK. We've had some issues with our initial testing of the underlying S-Air wireless technology, experiencing dropouts and limited range, although audio is clear when we do get a signal. We'll be interested to see if a US-bound NAS-Z200iR is compatible with the existing S-Air wireless standard or if it uses a different wireless platform.