Sony vs Apple: Vaio Pocket VGF-AP1

By Jon Newton 5/14/04

Sony's first foray into the MP3 portable market, the Memory Stick Walkman, came two years before the iPod was introduced. It failed along with two other players the company introduced. There were several reasons, but mostly it was a file transfer program that was a misery to use in expensive players that were otherwise run-of-the-mill. Frustrated owners put out the word and Sony pulled out of the the MP3 target market for 2 years (Their players do not play MP3s, but the competing ATRAC3 format).

Vaio Pocket VGF-AP1

Now Sony aims for the digital portable market again with claims of an iPod killer. The feature set on the Vaio Pocket VGF-AP1 offers strong potential, but it is convenience that put the iPod where it is and where Sony's future products, including the Vaio Pocket, will have to excel in. --editor

The writing was clearly on the wall when Sony unveiled its Vaio Pocket VGF-AP1 mp3 player in a bid to regain at least partial control of the portable music player market it once dominated with Walkman.

Vaio challenges Apple's iPod and one of its main distinctions is the fact it has a small screen which shows track info and can play back video images associated with albums.

Now, Sony plans to evolve its Vaio-branded computer platform into a number of networked audio and video products, states an eeTimes story here, quoting Keiji Kimura, president of Sony's IT & Mobile Solutions Network company.

"Significantly, Vaio operating systems will no longer be limited to Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP," the story goes on. "Vaio Pocket, Sony's new portable audio player will use Sony's proprietary operating system. The same is apparently true of the video version of a prototype pocket device Sony demonstrated here.

"The pocket video prototype includes a hard-disk drive, MPEG-4/MPEG-2 video decoding and 802.11g-based wireless connectivity. The palm-size video device is designed to let users download content from a home server. Consumers can also use it to wirelessly transfer video content to a big- screen TV."


Jon Newton is the editor of and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.

The 256MB Rio Cali is available on Amazon


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