Sony to unveil digital music Walkman today

Announcement comes day after second-generation Rio is launched in time for Xmas

Sony is set to launch its entry into the digital music player market today, the twentieth birthday of the Walkman portable stereo. Sony's move follows MP3 player pioneer Diamond Multimedia announcement yesterday of its lastest Rio. As previously discussed by Sony president Nobuyuki Idei, the new machine, to be put out under the Walkman brand, will store music files on Sony's Memory Stick technology. Sony sees Memory Stick as an alternative to transferring data by cable -- users will just copy data from their PC to a Memory Stick (itself the size and shape of a chewing gum stick) which then plugs into the digital Walkman. Sony is certain to equip its own computers and digital consumer electronics kit with Memory Stick slots, but it will still have some way to go to persuade other vendors to support the format instead or alongside the more commonplace Compact Flash format. Given the popularity of the Walkman brand, Sony's new player could well give Memory Stick the user base the company needs to attract third-party support. The digital Walkman is due to be released in the US in time for Christmas. Meanwhile, Diamond Multimedia yesterday shipped the second generation of its Rio MP3 player, the Rio 500. The new version ups the built-in memory to 64MB, enough for around two hours of songs, and features a USB port to make connection to a PC easier. Diamond's definition of a PC now includes the Mac -- the device will ship with third-party Mac music management and downloading software. The Rio 500 will retail for around $269 in the US, and comes in three colour schemes: silver, translucent blue and translucent turquoise. ® Related Stories IO Data Device preps $180 digital music player Tosh readies MP3 music player Audiohighway struggles to push music player patent

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