Sony throws in the towel and will support MP3 on some players

Apparently hell hath frozen over. Sony is beginning to
realise that Atrac is not catching on the way they would like, so they have decided to embrace the MP3 format. This will definately help
position Sony to better compete with other players that have proprietary
formats as well, but provide support for the venerable compression scheme that
started it all.


Though
some of its CD Walkmans could play MP3s, Sony had fallen behind in recent
years as it stuck to its proprietary format in its newer class of audio
players, forcing users to first go through an extra step to convert their
digital song files – often already in the MP3 format – to the Atrac
format.


Now, Sony plans to release some new
flash-based players with both MP3 and Atrac playback as early as this year
in Europe, said Gretchen Griswold, a spokeswoman for Sony Electronics.


The company is also working to create
software upgrades so owners of current models could play their songs in
the MP3 format.

Ms. Griswold also eluded to the fact that Sony will
introduce the same capability for the Sony portable players elsewhere in the
world, but could not elaborate on the timetable.

Source: Australian IT