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Sony's getting back into the video Walkman game

Evan Blass

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. That must be the corporate mantra at Sony these days, where the former undisputed king of portable audio is still playing catch up with current market leader Apple, doing everything it can to pry consumers away from the iPod's loving embrace. At today's official unveiling of the NW-S700 and NW-S600 series' of flash-based DAPs, Senior EV Hiroshi Yoshioka let slip an even more tantalizing bit of info: Sony is developing a "video Walkman" that will go head-to-head with the 5.5G iPod and Microsoft Zune. No details were revealed regarding the specs of this upcoming device, but what's interesting is the fact that this will actually be the company's third foray into portable video players, following 2003's GigaPocket PCVA-HVP20 (pictured) and 2004's HMP-A1. For those of you that can remember back that far, you'll recall that these 20GB models offerred fairly attractive features for their time, including MPEG-1/2/4 support, and, in the case of of the A1, very un-Sonlylike MP3 playback. Now that the availability of downloadable video has blossomed -- both legally and illegally -- it would seem that Sony has a better shot this time around, although it's unlikely that the new PMP will achieve the status of "iPod-killer." And hey, even if this product turns out to be another flop, they still have the PS3 to fall back on, right? Right?

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