New Sony Walkmans ditch ATRAC for AAC

Pull on the giant foam hand and assume a Saturday Night Fever stance because dum, dum, dum, another Sony format bites the dust. Yup, three years after

Pull on the giant foam hand and assume a Saturday Night Fever stance because dum, dum, dum, another Sony format bites the dust. Yup, three years after Sony woke up, smelled the coffee, added MP3 support to its, er, MP3 players, then rolled over and hit snooze, it's finally dropped ATRAC, lock, stock and barrel.It started last month with the dinky B100 series but with the launch of the video-playing A810 (right) and S610 (left) and music-only S510 series, Sony has confirmed it's going the whole hog and dropping its dodgy SonicStage software and ATRAC-flogging Connect music store.Connect customers (apparently there are some) will be advised to burn their ATRAC purchases to CD then rip them as MP3s to ensure they don't become the digital equivalent of your Betamax collection.The new players, meanwhile, look rather tasty. They use the vastly superior Windows Media Player 11 for their PC syncing and will play both MP3s and copy protected WMAs. They'll also make nice with iTunes thanks to AAC compatibility for DRM-free iTunes Plus and CD tracks ripped using Apple’s software.All three get QVGA screens – 1.8in on the S models, 2in on the A – and have mammoth 33-hour battery lives. Capacities hop from 2 to 4 to 8GB. Now, if you'll excuse us, we have some ATRACs to convert.EssentialsSony NWZ-A Series, NWZ-S SeriesPrice: £TBAOn sale: October Contact: SonyRelated stories:New Creative ZEN hearts iTunes PlusSamsung lines up three iPod assassinsNew Sony MP3 player aims at Shuffle and Stone