When Sony released the S series and E series MP3 players back at IFA last year, we were disappointed not to see a new high-end model to go with them. Now we know why. Sony has been prepping a fully touch-controlled flagship Walkman -- the X series -- to go up against Apple's dominant iPod touch.
With built-in Wi-Fi for wireless podcast downloading, Internet browsing and YouTubing, integrated noise-cancellation, a full-screen album art interface and support for high-quality H.264 video, it's the most feature-packed Walkman to date.
It'll come with 16GB or 32GB of flash memory and support for MP3, AAC, WMA and WAV audio formats. H.264, MPEG-4 SP and WMV are supported on the video side, along with JPEG photos. Sony's put an emphasis on this being the best-sounding Walkman it has produced, so with 32GB of memory we're a little disappointed not to see support for FLAC audio.
The DRM-free downloads from iTunes Plus (that's currently 8 million out of the 10 million songs iTunes sells) are supported, as well as downloads from BBC iPlayer. You'll be enjoying the Beeb's programming on a 76mm (3-inch) 432x240-pixel resolution OLED display. That, ladies and gentlenerds, is bloody marvellous.
So all in all, you'll understand why we're incredibly excited about the X series. Excited like a zoo keeper when he sees a hitherto grumpy couple of pandas finally getting it on.
Both 16GB and 32GB models will be available in the UK from spring, with prices to be confirmed. For now, check out the rest of the photos in the gallery.
We're loving the stylish granite-like design of the X-Series.
This'll be Sony's answer to Apple's CoverFlow.
To use the noise-cancelling features of the Walkman, you'll have to be using the supplied earphones.