Sony launches Android-powered Walkman to compete with iPod Touch

by Kristen Nicole

Last year, Sony saw potential in Android’s platform and launched the Xperia PLAY handset for gamers. Now, Sony is after music lovers, reviving the Walkman as a connected device. The NWZ-Z1050 is Sony’s first Android-powered mobile media player, and could be a promising gadget for the forlorn OEM. It comes with a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, a 4.3-inch WVGA (800x400 pixels) touchscreen and an S-Master MX digital amplifier. You’ll also find the same app in the A-Series media players from Sony, and these amps reportedly deliver less noise and distortion than previous versions. The Z-series hits stores this week in Singapore.

With 16GB of storage and a $429 price tag, Sony’s new Z-series Walkman is pricier than a 32GB iPod Touch. Sony also faces competition from other Android devices, many of which come with music-ready applications and services, including streaming radio and onboard storage. The music experience is something many Android OEMs are looking to incorporate into their mobile devices. HTC acquired Beats technology to improve the audio performance of its handsets, and Samsung recently took in mSpot for their media cloud software.

An unwieldy Android ecosystem?

But with every new Android launch one must wonder, do we really need another Android-powered gadget in the market? With the Android ecosystem supporting over 600 phones and tablets in its four years of existence, the issue for today’s consumer is too much choice. And Android’s influence only continues to rise on a global scale, as market share surges in Spain, Italy, France, the U.S. and Germany, according to Kantar WorldPanel’s latest report. Android’s diversity can overwhelm the consumer, and continues to impact the market at large.

It’s a Wild West for Android’s ecosystem, with a seemingly uncontrollable number of devices and applications for consumers to constantly sift through. According to Armando Rodriguez of PCWorld, Google needs to tighten up the reins and better control this flooded ecosystem. Two important steps he feels Google should make include standardizing device requirements, and better controlling OS update distribution.

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