Sony’s new Walkman uses Android and apps

by Kristen Nicole

Sony’s Walkman line has come a long way since it first debuted way back in 1979 in Japan, and the latest iteration isn’t just taking aim at other MP3 players, it’s setting its sights on the iPod Touch.

The Walkman turned from CD player to MP3 player a few years ago, but it’s only now that Sony is adding apps to the equation. Dubbed the Walkman Z1000, the Japanese electronics maker’s latest model runs Google’s Android mobile operating system and can handle Android apps, just as Apple’s iPod Touch can run apps from the iTunes App Store.

The Z1000 has a few other nifty tricks, as well. It’s slightly bigger than an iPod Touch, sporting a 4.3-inch screen, according to the story at TechCrunch. It also supports Sony’s DLNA capabilities, meaning it can share its media with other Sony devices, including TVs. That can mean listening to music or watching movies from your Walkman on your TV, for example. And if you don’t have a Sony DLNA TV, that’s okay, too. The Z1000 includes a microHDMI port, so with the right cable you can still watch stuff saved on your Walkman on a big screen.

Sony is showing off the new device at CES 2012 in Las Vegas this week. It’s not brand new – Sony actually rolled out the Z1000 in Japan back in September – but only now is the new Walkman making its way across the Pacific to U.S. shores and beyond. From the sounds of things, the Walkman will run Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and not Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which likely would have been a bit of a stretch for an MP3 player anyway.

As TechCrunch reports, you shouldn’t have to wait long if an Android-running MP3 player (that isn’t made by Samsung) is your bag. It sounds like Sony should have the Z1000 on U.S. shelves by the spring, in three flavors: an 8GB version for $249, a 16GB version for $279 and a 32GB version for $299. For those keeping track at home, however, that’s slightly out of sync with comparable iPod Touches, which come in at $199 for an 8GB, $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB.