Sony’s purple ‘pods

No sooner does Apple launch the ROKR and nano then Sony releases its own portable music salvo. Its new Walkmans (to be known only as Walkman, don’t you know) come in 6GB and 20GB form, and look entirely different from any of Sony’s previous HD efforts. An

So, we arrive at Sony’s 4th generation of Walkman in what seems like as many days. It is a bit indecisive, isn’t it? The thing is, this time it’s gone totally crazy – the new jukeboxes bear no resemblance to their predecessors.

The big story this time around isn’t size and battery life (in fact, the new 20GB Walkman is significantly bulkier than the HD5, and runs out of juice 10 hours earlier), but functionality. Non-DRMed WMA has been added to the list of supported music formats, which also boasts Atrac3, Atrac3plus and MP3, and there are a few novel new listening modes to check out. ‘Artist Link’ provides suggestions for what you might like to listen next based on what you are listening to at the touch of a button, while ‘My Favourite Shuffle’ randomizes your 100 most listened to tunes, and ‘Time Machine Shuffle’ picks a random year to play tracks from. Some neat ideas, we think.

Another change is the all-new Connect Player software, replacing the flawed Sonicstage. Other than that, it’s all about the sleek design – as far removed as possible from the rugged elegance of the first three generations. In addition to the violet models pictured, the 20GB will be available in silver, and the 6GB comes in silver, pink and blue.

As ever, more info on Sony goods can be found here.