If you’re lucky enough to be at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, in Las Vegas, you might just spot a Sony Walkman poster that’s already been put up. You’ll recognize the distinctive stylized “W” at least. At this juncture, we don’t know what this is; it could be a follow up to the A17 Walkman device released in September or it might be a follow up to the (very expensive) ZX1 video Walkman. There’s a curved, matte black chassis with a gold headphone jack. Control buttons appear to be placed along the edge. Sony have recently released a tease video referencing “Welcome to the New World,” so this might be a red herring or it could reference a Walkman. Would a Walkman benefit from Android Lollipop, a bright, vibrant display as well as high quality audio? Of course. And Android is a great platform for a media and music player as it’s very flexible and provides an infrastructure for keeping the device up to date via the Google Play Store. Until now, Sony has used its own proprietary operating system for its Walkman line.
Sony has been making noises about a digital audio renaissance and has been calling for supporting high quality audio files (24-bit, 192 kHz files to be specific) but there are still many questions to be asked. The first is what’s the target audience? Audiophiles may tolerate carrying another device along with a smartphone but many people won’t. These same audiophiles will also have the necessary high quality speakers or headphones to benefit from higher quality music output but for the rest of us, our other audio equipment may mean that a high quality Sony Walkman would be lost on our ears, especially when combine with a noisy environment such as public transport.
Maybe the poster is teasing new audio controls for yet another range of Sony Android products, we’re going for the Z4 moniker? That might make sense for some devices but I don’t see Sony reintroducing physical buttons for Android devices. I’d still reckon that a follow up to the ZX1 Walkman is more likely, and Sony are simply teasing just one of their unannounced products. We’ll find out in a few days; keep it locked with us and we’ll let you know as soon as we know.