Sony goes for Apple's jugular

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Typical! While we were out at the Orange 3G shindig Sony goes and makes potentially its biggest announcement this year in unveiling its first real iPod killer the NW-HD1.

Sure you have heard it all before, and yes we have seen three hard disk personal players from the company in the last twelve months none of which have arrived in Europe.

This time it’s different. Sony is adamant that it will be in the stores in August in the US and a month later in Europe.

So why do you want one? Well firstly it has a 20 Gig hard disk, the same as the mid-range iPod. However it is much smaller than the iPod coming in at slightly larger than its baby sibling the four Gigabyte iPod mini. It looks OK too, but not as sexy as the iPod (silver is so 2003).

Secondly it plays MP3 and WMA files as well as Sony’s Atrac 3 files, which are of course compatible with its soon to be launched Connect music download service. Annoyingly it plays the usual trick of converting MP3s, WMAs to Atrac 3, but hey that’s no great surprise.

The real breakthrough is battery life. Sony reckons the NW-HD1 will roll on for 30 hours – over four times more than the iPod.

As for price, well we think Sony will try and keep it under £300 so it is roughly the same as the iPod.

Unless Apple has something pretty spectacular up its sleeve, Sony with its huge marketing muscle and massive retail, presence, is likely to give it a real run for its money this Christmas.

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