Sony Hopes Android 4.0 Will Save the Walkman
Sony hopes it can offer Apple's iPod Touch sterner competition with the announcement of a new Walkman model powered by the latest version of Google's Android operating system.
The Walkman 3.5 inch F800 is not the first media players to use Android -- the "Z" series started this trend for Sony back in May and Samsung has a similar product -- but the version included on those models was 2.3. The F800 which replaces these will use 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
Three capacities are offered, 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB, promising 4.5 hours of video playback and 20 for music. Inside, the F800 features a 1GHz dual-core CPU.
Do music players need Android to work well for their intended task? Not really but it allows the device to access apps on Google's Play Store via the Wi-Fi connection.
The bigger question is whether users actually want old-fashioned music players at all, even Apple's iPod.
Despite the famous heritage there is no such thing as a "Walkman" these days. Even Sony calls them "personal media players" or PMPs which obscures the fact that the whole niche is slowly being rendered obsolete by improvements in phones and tablets running the same Android OS; the F800 even looks like a small smartphone.
Another drawback could be the F800's reported $279 (approximately £180) price tag.