Sony Android Walkman prototype spotted at IFA

Can Sony reclaim its crown as the champ of portable audio? Here’s its plan

Want to know what the next generation of Sony Walkman will look like? We did, too, so we peered backstage at Sony’s IFA stand and found out. The 4.3in Android Walkman you see here is so new it doesn’t even have a name. Or any spec. Still, we’ll take you through what we discovered.

We’d be lying if we said this anonymous Walkman prototype didn’t remind us ever so slighty of Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Arc in build feel and style. Actually, we wouldn’t: it reminds us a lot of those familiar Xperia curves.

All of you who kept your CD collection on your bedroom floor as teenagers will salute Sony’s decision to put in a new cover art interface that lets you shuffle albums around in a chaotic, overlapping pattern on the screen. Can’t find one? Try looking under another. Found it? Hit it to start the music.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. There are some pretty tasty visualisations available, but you’ll want to see the song lyrics, which are highlighted as the song progresses. You can even skip to a point in the song using the lyrics to navigate. Magic? Yeah, it’s pretty close.

We weren’t in the best environment to check out the sound quality on Sony’s new prototype Android Walkman, but we’ll give Sony the benefit of the doubt, given its musical pedigree. The rear speaker certainly wasn’t shy, and we’re told xLoud tech is behind the scenes filling out the sound.

Being an Android device, you can download apps to the next generation Sony Walkman, plus buy tunes via Sony’s Music Unlimited, browse the web (though there are no plans for 3G at the moment) and all the rest of it. Well, except phone calls. There’s a neat side-mounted Walkman button that flashes up a music player overlay so you don’t have to leave what you’re doing to change track or volume.

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