Sony's iPod killer

MP3 players

For details on Sony’s NW-HD1 iPod killer click here

Yes, Sony has an iPod killer and you can walk in the stores and buy it now. It is, surprise surprise, a Net MiniDisc recorder/player the £150 MZN510.

According to sales figures from the UK’s leading consumer electronics sales research organisation GFK, the MD player has been trouncing all-comers including the iPod in the network audio (MP3 players, MP3 compatible CD/MD players) market since its launch earlier in the year.

Even during times when the supply of iPods was plentiful, the MZN510 was selling five as many as its Apple rival. Sony concedes that its figures don’t include sales of the iPod through the Apple Store website, but even so it still seems very likely that the best-selling iPod would only end up as third or fourth best seller in the sphere behind the Net MD product and an Sony MP3-playing CD personal.

The success of the Net MDs is even more baffling considering they only store four hours of MP3 tunes on one disc, which is minuscule compared to the huge storage of even CDs. Also that consumers have to go through a checking in and checking out process with MP3s on their PC and have to resave them as ATRACs to transfer them to the MD.

Maybe it is down to brand loyalty to Sony, the recorder’s reasonable price and the fact that the MiniDisc format is in fact a lot more popular than people give it credit for.

In fact at Sony’ recent 10th anniversary bash for the format, the company hinted that it had big plans for the format.

Firstly it will increase the amount of MP3/Atrac storage on each MD. Secondly, and we are speculating here, it might ditch the checking in/out procedure.

Sony does predict that the network audio market is set to explode with it possibly reaching a million units in the period between Sept 03-Sept 04.

And no, Sony still doesn’t have plans for a hard disk iPod style MP3 jukebox.

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