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Sony brings Walkman brand into the Android age

Aug 23, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Sony Ericsson announced a music-oriented Android 2.3 smartphone with a dedicated Walkman music button and “deep” Facebook integration. Due to ship in the fourth quarter, the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman offers a 1GHz processor, a 3.2-inch inch display with 480 x 320 pixels, a five-megapixel camera, a front-facing VGA webcam, plus Sony Qriocity music and video content services.

With Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman, Sony Ericsson has once again revived the Walkman brand in an Android incarnation, just as it partially recast the PlayStation brand earlier this year in the gaming-focused Xperia Play. The phone follows up on Sony Ericsson's earlier, MP3-enabled Walkman phones, which rode the Walkman name to best-seller glory back in 2006.


Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman

(Click to enlarge)

The signature feature here is a dedicated Walkman hardware button that provides instant access to the music player. Other audio-related features include Sony's xLOUD audio technology, which "enhances audio output of the inbuilt speakers at high levels," according to the company. A 3.5mm audio jack, stereo speakers, a stereo headset, and a Bluetooth radio are also supplied.

On the software side, audio is said to be enhanced with a "TrackID" feature that identifies the track currently playing within the music player or supplied FM radio. The track can then be quickly shared or downloaded, says Sony Ericsson.

A "media discovery" application, which appears to be associated with the phone's DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) support, helps seek out music and videos and offers Facebook recommendations from friends, says the company. In addition, tapping the "infinite button" within the media player is said to enable instant access to new content about the artist, including related music videos, artist information, and lyrics search.

The phone is also said to offer quick access to Sony's Qriocity service, offering music and video content. Qriocity is claimed to be exclusive to Sony Ericsson devices.


Side view of Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman

(Click to enlarge)

The Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman is equipped with an unnamed 1GHz processor that runs Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread") and is accompanied by up to 320MB of user-available memory, says the company. A 2GB microSD card is said to be available for the 32GB-ready slot.

The four-ounce (115 gram) phone is marked by a curved design, with a glossy black or white finish. The phone does indeed appear "attractive," but at 0.56 inches (14.9mm) thick, it's a bit on the chunky side. (Perhaps this is an intentional throwback to the Walkman design, for those who can remember it.)

The 3.2-inch, 480 x 320, capacitive screen is built from "mineral glass" for scratch resistance, says Sony Ericsson. The front facing VGA camera is enabled for Skype video calling, while the rear-facing five-megapixel camera can capture 720p video and features LED flash and 8x digital zoom, says Sony Ericsson.


Rear view of Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman

(Click to enlarge)

The Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman is equipped with aGPS, as well as Wi-Fi (with hotspot functionality), says Sony Ericsson. A micro-USB port and a USB 2.0 host port are said to be supplied, complete with "native USB tethering" support.

Talk time is listed at 14 hours, 15 minutes with GSM/GPRS, or up to six hours, 42 minutes on UMTS, says the company. Using either network, meanwhile, up to 17 hours, 30 minutes of music listening time is said to be available, as is up to six hours, 30 minutes of video playback.

The Android 2.3 stack features Android Market, Google Voice Search, Google Talk, Google Mail, Google Latitude, and Google Maps, among other Google apps. For navigation, however, Sony Ericsson turns to the Wisepilot turn-by-turn navigation app. A NeoReader barcode scanner is also said to be available.

As with a number of other smaller-screened Android phones of late, Sony's latest Walkman is promoted for its deep Facebook integration, including offering instant access to Facebook from commonly used apps. These are said to include the picture gallery, music player, phonebook, and calendar.

Availability

Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman will be available globally in selected markets from Q4 2011, says the company. More detailed software information may be found in the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman announcement.


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