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Sony's 2008 MP3 players priced for U.S.

CNET Senior Editor Donald Bell describes the new 2008 lineup of Sony MP3 players.

Photo of Sony NWZ-A820 MP3 player
Sony's latest NWZ-A820 MP3 player includes Bluetooth audio and a 2.4-inch screen. An identical-looking NWZ-A720 is also being sold, minus Bluetooth. Sony

After last week's UK announcement, it should hardly comes as a surprise that Sony's got some new MP3 players heading to the ol' U.S. of A. For those of you convinced that the Walkman will rise again, here's the skinny on Sony's American imports.

By the end of March, Sony will be shipping the NWZ-A820 (pictured) in an 8GB ($270) and 16GB ($320) capacity, available only in black. Both versions of the NWZ-A820 include Bluetooth audio, high-quality Sony EX earphones, and a 2.4-inch QVGA LCD, but the 8GB version also comes bundled with a set of around-the-neck Bluetooth headphones.

Photo of Sony NWZ-S710F MP3 player
The Sony NWZ-S710F includes built-in noise-cancellation technology. Sony

If the NWZ-A820 sounds too rich for your blood, or Bluetooth just isn't your thing, you can save some money by shopping for the NWZ-A720 series. The NWZ-A720 is identical to the NWZ-A820, but excludes Bluetooth. Expect to find the NWZ-A720 in 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB capacities, priced at $150, $200, and $300, respectively (4GB and 8GB versions will be available in pink, as well as black). Both the NWZ-A720 and NWZ-A820 support MP3, AAC, WMA (including DRM), and WAV audio formats, as well as MPEG-4 (H.264) video playback, and neither include an FM radio. Considering that both players are modeled after the stellar NWZ-A818 released last year, my expectations are high.

Sony is also giving us a refresh of the NWZ-S610 (another excellent player we saw from Sony last year), by throwing in the noise-cancellation feature found in their SonicStage-era NW-S705F MP3 player. The new player is called the NWZ-S710F series (are you remembering all these catchy model numbers?), and will be available in 4GB and 8GB capacities priced at $150 and $200, respectively. Aside from the addition of active noise-cancellation, the NWZ-S710F is essentially unchanged from the NWZ-S610, and will be available in silver, red, and black.

All of Sony's newly announced MP3 players are due out at the end of March.