back to article Sony: Walkman, meet Android

Sony has launched an Android-based Walkman, the F800, with which it hopes to topple the supremacy Apple's iPod Touch holds in the PMP market. Good luck. The Sony Walkman F800 boasts a 3.5in display and runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, providing access to Google Play and its wide array of apps and games. It'll come in 8GB …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much ?

    Does it have a memory card slot ?

    Does it have a camera ?

    If no to the above then it's a dead duck.

    1. LarsG
      Meh

      Re: How much ?

      32GB one will set you back....... £275 as reported in a UK computer mag review.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How much ?

        32gb for £275 then it's a dead duck. A 32GB ipod touch on Amazon is £206.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How much ?

          Pricing fail, Sony still don't get it.

    2. Annihilator Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: How much ?

      Really? A camera is a required factor in a media player these days? Who knew... I'll get rid of my iPod immediately...

      1. toadwarrior

        Re: How much ?

        The ipod touch has a camera. At the price they're seeting, I assume that's what they're competing against, the ipod that has everything an iphone has minus the ability to call.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uh?

    The phone part... it is missing!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Uh?

      There's still one or two people who prefer to keep their phone and music player separate.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Uh?

        Thanks, Captain Obvious; that was rather the point.

  3. Pooka

    Damnit....

    .... someone please bring out an MP3 with a decent capacity (like 160gb please!) so I can finally get rid of my only iThingie....

    1. stucs201

      Re: Damnit....

      Or preferably even more than 160. I find it frustrating than even the iPod classic has been stalled at 160 for years, we really should be up to 240 or 320 by now.

      1. Pooka

        Re: Damnit....

        Especially if it moves to SSD rather than spinnyplatter.... That way you get more capacity, more battery life...

    2. Miek
      Linux

      Re: Damnit....

      @Pooka

      My friend bought a Cowon, which he is really pleased with.

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cowon-160GB-Portable-Media-Player/dp/B0047ZB9XQ/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1342685903&sr=8-4

      1. D@v3

        Re: Damnit....(Miek)

        yeah, not bad. But i'd rather have one with no fancy colour screen, or all the extra gumph that jacks the price up. A 120gb+ Hdd with a 10 line b/w display and a headphone socket would suit me fine.

    3. Norman Hartnell
      Joke

      Re: Damnit....

      160Gb? That's tens of thousands of pounds' worth of music*. You must have one hell of a disposable income!

      * - according to Microsoft.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Damnit....

      Surely the answer is to just have a microSDXC slot, then you would never run out.

      SD = Up to 4GB

      SDHC = Up to 32GB

      SDXC = Up to 2TB

    5. Big O
      Thumb Up

      Re: Damnit....

      Pooka - massively aggree! (Especially seen as Napster has forced me into transferring via playlists.... which I just don't like)

      Miek - Shiny...... have to seriously consider that!

    6. nemo20000
      Angel

      Re: Damnit....

      My Archos AV300 had 80GB in 2005. Where have you been?

  4. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Samsung did it first

    Morgan were punting a Galaxy S media player for ages. Identical to the phone, it seemed, but no phone bits and, I suspect, no GPS. At £125 I might have been tempted, save for Samsung's insane belief that noone would ever want to edit a playlist.

    1. dotdavid

      Re: Samsung did it first

      Couldn't you just download another audio player that *did* let you edit the playlist? If it was like the Galaxy S it would have had the Market wouldn't it?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google Play?

    What's the point since you can't use it to buy music in the UK.

    Didn't Sony own some other media shop?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google Play?

      Buy music?????

    2. Bodhi
      FAIL

      Re: Google Play?

      I'm guessing, (and this is only a guess), that people might want to go onto Google Play to, erm, download Applications? And all the other stuff you CAN get on there?

      Just a hunch you understand.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: Google Play?

        I thought the main purpose of a Walkman was to play music, but you clearly know better @Bodhi.

        1. Irongut Silver badge

          Re: Google Play?

          Ever heard of Spotify? You'll need Google Play to download their app if you want to use it to play music.

          There are many other music apps on Google Play too.

  6. Panzerbjorn
    Meh

    But will it have the necessary backend

    If it doesn't have something really clever to make it incredibly easy to get music from Amazon and your own collection, then it's a dead duck indeed.

    And it will have to be dirt cheap since most phones have more space than that.

  7. Azzy

    Portable music player?

    So, it's like a phone that can't make phone calls or take pictures or use the internet w/out wifi?

    Has anyone at Sony paused to ask themselves who their target market for these is?

    The people who don't have smartphones wouldn't go for an android-based music player; otherwise they'd have a smartphone:

    If it's because they can't afford a carrier-subsidized smartphone, they won't be able to afford this either.

    If it's because they're too old and/or stupid to use one, they won't have a better time with this.

    If it's because they're a curmudgeon who doesn't approve of new technology, they're still using the old walkman, the kind with the cassette tape, and if you ask them to switch to this newfangled thing, they'll react with profanity or a story about how life was back in their day.

    The people who do have smartphones, on the other hand, are already carrying a device exactly like this, only with always-on internet access and better specs, so why buy a redundant device...?

    I mean, if it was disposably cheap, so you can use it when you'd be afraid to use the cellphone, sure - something to listen to in the bathtub, or when you're going to the annual kleptomaniacs anonymous meeting. But this doesn't look anywhere near that cheap.

    For that matter, who the hell even buys iPod Touch's anymore? (less people every year)

    Sony, I've got a pro tip for you: Don't jump into a market where the market leader is gaining market share while their sales into said market fall 30% year on year (see iPod touch sales figures).

    1. PaulW
      Facepalm

      Missing the point

      So I have a phone and a tablet but I also have a music device (yeah yeah in this case they are all iDevices but I use the generic term in this case cuz I can).

      Phone -> Makes phone calls and some apps, email, and mobile TV

      Tablet -> Apps, web, and games. Sometimes video calls.

      Music device -> music, supports the incar dash and has a much higher capacity than the phone. That way I have all my music in the car, and with the link up the car supports (Pioneer thingy) have playlists, album covers and the like

      Now a 32Gb device like this Sony wouldnt work. I have 140Gb on the ipod. But a phone device would never come close. I could do USB into the Pioneer, but the biggest thumb drive I have isnt close (64Gb).

      So yeas, despite the fact that it wouldnt work for **YOU** (or some others), there is a market segment out there that needs the devices. (Just like that long forgotten market segment that wants a phone that is well just a phone which is why you can still buy those strangely enough!).

    2. Chris D Rogers

      Re: Portable music player?

      Hold off your horses with slagging off the iTouch,

      Its ten times better than any other device out there for playing music, games, viewing JPEGs and all sorts of other things - it will act as a phone as well if you have a personal wifi spot on you - much cheaper than the so called 'smartphones' that have seemed to have taken over the world.

      As for lack of sales thereof, perhaps it has something to do with the fact Apple have note updated the iTouch since 2010, unless of course if you think adding White is a update.

      I like it, my daughter prefers it to the iPad 3 and basically thats all that matters me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Portable music player?

        "Hold off your horses with slagging off the iTouch,"

        If you're going to pontificate, maybe it's best not to draw extra attention to how ill-informed you are by getting the *name* of the device wrong?

        It's called an iPod Touch, and you're wrong anyway. HTH HAND and shrimp.

        1. Chris D Rogers
          FAIL

          Re: Portable music player?

          Evidently, you don't get on to Apple Fanbois sites all that often - its generically referred too as the 'iTouch' and not an iPod Touch - although in reality, its more like a stripped down version of the iPhone - hence, its actually a nice bit of kit, particularly for those who hate being tied to mobile networks, also, I JB mine, so not jailed in the Apple ecosystem either - a win win is all I can say and in reference to the Sony device, its 2012 and they can only manage 32G of space - the iTouch launched with 64G and all in all represents better value than a bloody iPad!!!!!!!!!!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Portable music player?

            "Evidently, you don't get on to Apple Fanbois sites all that often - its generically referred too as the 'iTouch' and not an iPod Touch"

            Really? It's also known as the 'iPad Nano', for wannabe Fanbois on a limited budget.

    3. Bassey

      Re: Portable music player?

      > Has anyone at Sony paused to ask themselves who their target market for these is?

      Actually, I know LOADS of people who have work smartphones (usually - but not always - Blackberries, the poor bastards) and they are so limited in storage that they can't use them as a personal music/media device. So, either they go out and buy their own smartphone - and why bother when work are prepared to let you use theirs for all your personal calls, texts and data? - or they get an MP3 player. My sister has been looking for AGES for an MP3 player that would be able to connect to some decent portable speakers without using a 3.5mm jack cable and that isn't made by the fruity firm (iTunes phobic, like all sensible people are). Nothing really stood out but this looks like it might do the trick if it docks with the speaker on the Sony website.

    4. Jean Le PHARMACIEN
      Coat

      Re: Portable music player?

      "less people every year..."

      I think that'll be 'fewer people every year' ...unless they are 'lesser mortals''

      [dusts off grammar facist jacket and hang it up...]

    5. bep

      Re: Portable music player?

      You missed the bit about the battery life, didn't you? Some of us already have smartphones but don't want to run the risk of running out of battery while we are listening to music so we can't make calls or do anything else until we find a charger. We aren't bothered about running down the battery on our music player though.

    6. JDX Gold badge

      So, it's like a phone that can't make phone calls or take pictures or use the internet w/out wifi?

      Yeah that'll never take off. Apart from the millions of iPods sold every year of course, but clearly only iDiots buy them so you're right, it's a market without any consumers.

  8. Tom 35

    How is it crippled?

    It's a Sony Walkman so it must be crippled some how. It seems that everything newer then the original tape Walkman has been screwed up some how.

    Crappy software to get stuff off your PC? Custom cable? Limited format support? DRM?

    1. Fatman
      WTF?

      Re: How is it crippled?

      Most likely, it is infected with DRM; and that alone makes it crippled, at least in this `still smarting from that dammed Sony root-kit infected CD` person's POV.

      Sony, there is no limit to their arrogance, and they truly deserve all the shit directed at them. Their C level suite `got off` too easy for the root-kit fiasco. Any other mope would be doing time.

      1. Levente Szileszky
        FAIL

        Re: How is it crippled?

        If something is infected that's that utter PoS iCrap - impossible to use without that outdated, luaghable bugfest called iTunes...

        ...talk about stupid, dumb, arrogant (late) C-levels.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: How is it crippled?

          I have an iPod and I put songs on it from Windows. I don't have iTunes installed.

          And, iTunes is (allegedly) much better these days.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How is it crippled?

        This time, the rootkit IS the OS!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How is it crippled?

      > It's a Sony Walkman so it must be crippled some how.

      Do they still use SonicStage? *shudder*

    3. MJI Silver badge

      Re: How is it crippled?

      Rememebr their history - it evolved.

      They had CD Tape and MD Walkmans, the first HDD Walkmans were sort of based on the MD ones. MD uses ATRAC which sounds better than similar rate MP3, so the first HDs were basically using a HDD as a giant MD.

      They finally went MP3 with AFAIR the HD5, and was at the time the audiophiles choice of PMP.

      I own a MD Walkman, see no need to change to a MP3 player as I use it rarely.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How is it crippled?

        Yep I still have MD player(s), got one in the car, the CD->MD copier and the original player. Having just 5 MD's in the car is the equivalent of having about 20 CD's, more than enough selection alongside FM radio.

        The sound quality of the original portable is excellent with decent headphones, far better than any telephone i've listened to even when listening to the high compression (approx 4.5 CDs per disk), plus the player runs for ~40 hours off of one AA battery.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          MD

          I have a home deck a Walkman and a car head unit (with 10 CD changer in boot).

          My music storage is a ice cream tub full of MDs

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    topple the supremacy Apple's iPod Touch holds in the PMP market. Good luck.

    It already does. Have you heard how good the walkmans sound and how shit the ipods sound?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: topple the supremacy Apple's iPod Touch holds in the PMP market. Good luck.

      No, I haven't, nor have my international grade audio broadcast engineer colleagues, who can diagnose flaws in the broadcast chain by ear alone. Sometimes the suggestibility of empty prejudice and the attendant empty ranting is just adorable.

      (Bla bla bla, double blind test, etc.)

  10. Bad Beaver
    Stop

    Meh.

    Could they not make this thing a little more interesting? To us jaded first worlders, this is not too compelling. I assume this it Apple in the dust when it comes to sound quality, which should be easy. From the 1st gen iPod on, iDevices have never really sounded "great" but always merely "good". So that's that and it might be the sole reason for this to exist in the first place. But

    • 32GB? Really? I have a Nokia N9 with 64GB at my disposal that sounds pretty great and comes with a halfway decent player. And it's also the slickest phone in the known universe. So give me 64 or even better 128GB – or at least a cardslot. Something!

    • Formats! From what I seee his thing plays neither FLAC nor ALAC (which is open by now!). If you want to cater to audiophiles you have to offer lossless support.

    Who is the target?! SONY fanboys that are too much in love with their old candybar phone?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think not.

    Had a Sony phone years ago, utter cack, then a year or so later utterly dead cack. Now just bought a simple walkman that simply doesn't play music or radio. I'll keep that for calls, and use my Huawei G300 for media, games, internet, and calls as and when I unlock it.

    Just my 2 pence.

    1. Old Tom

      Re: I think not.

      Had a Samsung phone years ago, utter cack, then a couple of months later utterly dead cack.

      Samsung are, I hear, doing rather well in phones now.

  12. The Axe

    Walkman

    I still have my original Walkman sad git that I am.

  13. Framitz
    FAIL

    I already have an android phone.

    This is from despicable Sony, not even interested in anything they sell for the next 5 years.

    1. Levente Szileszky
      WTF?

      Apple is FAR more despicable than anyone else on the market...

      ...so I hope you didn't buy any iJunk for years nor planning to buy one for several years to come.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > 32GB ?

    I never really understand this.

    I only have a 16gb card in my phone, much of which is used for apps and data.

    Of music I have 2gb used, which gives me enough music to last 4 times as long as the battery will last without repeating a single track.

    My music collection is stored on my laptop and backup drives (about 144 days woth of constant play) so I just sync a different playlist when I want to change. Phone charges at the same time no problem there either.

    1. stucs201

      Re: > 32GB ?

      Changing music on an mp3 player would defeat most of the point for me. Mine mostly lives in the car with my entire collection on it, it only really comes out when I buy new music. This means I need capacity. I don't want to have to keep connecting to the computer to change things or choose in advance - doing that would actually be more hassle than putting a different set of CDs in the changer in the boot. Having everything is also good on holiday when I'm away from the computer but not from a power supply.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: > 32GB ?

      Hello.

      If you're content to accept mp3 encoded 'music' files at very low bit rates and high dynamics and frequency loss due to the compression then you're well off. Sadly for me (and many others) I'm not and I want my music to sound at least as good as a CD and ideally better. That's why I only (unless impossible) store FLAC lossless files on my portable music player, in my case an Android phone using the PowerAmp application. I can EASILY tell the difference between mp3 below 320kbps and FLAC encode 16 bit CD files and FLAC encoded 24 bit files (eg The Beatles USB stick content) are obviously superior to both. I have a 64Gb microSD card in my phone and it's filled by 160 albums.

      I should point out that I'm 48, grew up in the age of analogue HiFi, am a musician, qualified sound engineer and reckon that even a cassette recording off FM radio in the early 80s sounds better than most mp3!

      1. JDX Gold badge

        I want my music to sound at least as good as a CD and ideally better

        On a smartphone/device you listen on a bus, good luck.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: > 32GB ?

        Then it proves the point that most of us aren't and can't easily tell the difference between 192 ot 320 kbps. Mine is 192 on the phone. I don't use fancy earphones so there isn't a lot of point. My music on the laptop is a much higher bitrate mp3 or flac, but used to stream into virtual world platforms (at around 128) so yeah, you have a point, but I think most of us aren't that bothered.

  15. Kevin7
    Stop

    Hmm look really nice and probably sounds better. However 300 quid for 32Gb sounds extremely expensive, you can get a 64Gb iPod Touch for that and a Samsung for much, much less _and_ has a SD card slot. Sony have made great sounding kit for years but have never seemed terribly competitive - I don't think they'll shift many at this price.

  16. Piloti
    Thumb Up

    An Old Walkman

    I know one person, just one, who owns a Sony Walkman MP3 player.

    I've used it. It has one drawback, which is the limited 4gb memory.

    But the sound quality is excellent. Just about the best I have heard.

    If only Sony could get the marketing juju they had when they created the walkman brand, then Apple would be a dead duck. A music player for just playing music. EXACTLY what I am looking for.

  17. Michael 43

    I have a 7 year old Sony Walkman MP3 player, it can play ATRAC, MP3, AAC, Windows files no problem. It's still working and the sound quality still beats any Apple Ipods./touch

    DRM ? That's Apple's arena, I think Sonyh ave learnt frm their past mistakes,

    In regards to pricing they need to sort it out as I think it's a gret piece of kit..

    1. John King 1
      WTF?

      More capacity, please.

      I bought a 8Gb Sony mp3 player 5 years ago for £70 (Argos sale). It's great, perfectly practical in the home and out and about, and I've been looking forward to upgrading to a 32Gb or 64Gb model.

      5 long years later and there is still no shift in price! It's unbelievable. I couldn't even buy the same capability for less money. Does anybody know why all Sony 32Gb Walkmans start from £200? You can get a 32Gb memory stick for a tenner. Are we really just getting stitched up or is there something I'm missing?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    32GB?

    When will they LEARN!?!?!

    If it's not 60, 80, 160, 320GB then there's no POINT!

  19. pdebarra
    Headmaster

    Pluralisation

    I believe the preferred plural is "Sony Walkman Personal Stereos".

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