Sony to launch video Walkman

31 08 2007

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Having originally misjudged the market for mp3 players and hoping to recapture some of the original magic (not to mention ubiquity) of the audio cassette Walkman, Sony yesterday unveiled its new series of portable media players, capable of playing video, as well as audio content, reports Reuters.

The consumer electronics to TV and movie production conglomerate has big plans for the new Walkman series, aiming to capture a 10% market share within two years of the devices going on sale in both Europe and the U.S. next month. Prices will range from €99 (US $134) to 249 ($336) for basic to high-end models.

Significantly, the devices will run Windows Media codecs.

Sony faces competition from Apple’s market dominance, with around 72% share, yet the notoriously-secretive latter has thus far refused to break out sales of video playback-enabled iPods from overall sales, suggesting they may either be slower than anticipated or a category struggling to establish itself.

This appearsto be confirmed by one of the highlighted findings from market intelligence firm In-Stat’s report on Big Trends Influencing the Global Handset Market 2007-2012, published last week: just 11% of consumers surveyed said they would specifically purchase a portable media player based on its ability to offer video playback.

However, combined with Sony’s earlier announcements: its PSP portability JV with U.K. satellite platform Sky and a DVR, DTT-receiver-enabled PS3, things are cooking up for the company.