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Sony extends native MP3 support to Vaio Pocket

Firmware update to fix bugs too

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Sony's move to support the MP3 audio format natively on its hard drive-based music players will be extended to the recently released Vaio Pocket device, The Register can confirm.

Sony Vaio Pocket VGF-AP1LAccording to the Japanese giant, it will ship a firmware update later this month that will not only enable native MP3 playback, saving the need to convert tracks to ATRAC 3 Plus first, but will improve the machine's performance generally, add a speed-scroll facility to the UI and - a big improvement this - introduce "gapless playback".

That phrase refers to the tiny pause between songs largely unnoticeable between tracks that fade out and in, but is something of an irritation when tracks are mixed straight into each other, as is often the case with concert recordings, for example.

In total, the firmware update will address some 34 issues in the Vaio Pocket models VGF-AP1 and VGF-AP1L, Sony told The Register. The update is likely to ship alongside SonicStage 2.3, the version of Sony's jukebox application that also supports native MP3 file transfers.

News of the update follows yesterday's announcement of Sony's first native hard drive-based MP3 player, the NW-HD3, itself the fruit of the Japanese giant's September decision to incorporate the format into such devices. The company already offers a line of Flash-based players with native MP3 support. ®

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