Sony apes Apple with coloured music players

NW-HD update gets iPod Mini colour scheme

Sony will soon ship an updated version of its first hard drive-equipped digital music player, this time to pitch the product straight at Apple's iPod Mini.

The NW-HD2 matches the specification of the original NW-HD1 - in particular the 20GB 1.8in hard drive - simply adding three alternative coloured cases. In addition to the NW-HD1's darker metallic shell, the NW-HD2 is available in silver, metallic pink and metallic blue shades.

Sony NW-HD2 digital music player

The compact player weighs just 110g and measures 8.9 x 6.2 a 1.4cm. There's a small blue-backlit LCD panel, with a round five-way controller to handle playback, track skipping and menu navigation.

Sony may have committed itself to native MP3 playback in future music players, but the NW-HD2 continues to support said format only through the company's transcoding software built into its SonicStage jukebox application. Ditto WAV and WMA files - and only non-DRM'd versions at that. The NW-HD2 only plays ATRAC 3, ATRAC 3 Plus and lossless PCM coded files natively.

Sony claims the unit offers up to 30 hours' continuous playback on a single battery charge, and on the basis of The Register's testing of its Vaio Pocket VFG-AP1 music player, we can well believe it.

Sony's move to offer pastel-hued music players follows a similar announcement from Toshiba earlier this week that it's preparing coloured-versions of its Gigabeat player. Apple rival Creative also announced coloured versions of its MuVo2 player early in September.

And not just music devices. Kyocera is already shipping an iPod Mini-matching line of digital cameras.

The NW-HD2 goes on sale in Japan on 10 October for around ¥40,000 (£201/$361). There's no word yet on US and European availability. ®

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