With a new Walkman S-Series appearing on a French Web site, it’s all but official that Sony’s going to revamp its portable media player.
The S-Series is fairly standard as far as MP3 players go, though the last model had a noise-canceling feature to appease audiophiles. The French site, Materiel, prices the new Walkman at 149 Euros for a 16 GB player, though there looks to be an 8 GB option available as well. Given that Sony Insider snagged some leaked marketing shots of the same player last week, this looks to be a genuine product.
Running Materiel through Google Translate, CNet notes that the player reportedly has “a great autonomy: up to 42 hours of music.” I think that’s a reference to battery life, as that was one of the old model’s strong points. Video is supported, and there’s an FM tuner, a microphone and a QVGA screen. The main difference between this player and the old S-Series is a curvier design and the inclusion of external speakers — plus a control panel that kind of looks like Mickey Mouse.
A few months ago, Sony tried to spice up its portable media player line with the Walkman X, an OLED touch screen answer to the iPod Touch. The difference with the S-Series is that there’s no touch screen and no Wi-Fi.
It’s always good to see more choices in the MP3 player market, but I do agree with Apple that the industry is moving away from simple music players like the S-Series. Sales of the iPod Classic declined last quarter from the same period in 2008, while iPhone and iPod Touch sales went up. Aside from low-price players, the days may be numbered for MP3 and video players that can’t connect to the Internet.