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Sony VAIO Pocket VGF-AP1: an iPod rival?

It seems Sony decided to press iPod aside — the company released its VAIO Pocket VGF-AP1 portable player that has a 20GB HDD and supports MP3, WMV, WAV (and proprietary ATRAC3).

The first difference is a 2.2" LCD with QVGA+ resolution (320x256 pixels) vs. iPod´s 2" 160x128 display. The second is standalone operation time that, according to the press release is 20 hours given the battery is full. The third-generation iPods (M8976J/A, M9244J/A, M9245J/A) can work for only 8 hours (10, according to the press release).

As for size, VAIO Pocket VGF-AP1 is slightly bigger than Apple´s 20GB product (63.3x17.2x115.2mm vs. 60.9x15.7x104mm) and is heavier by 37g (195g vs. 158g). One of novelty´s key innovation is G-sense controls that implies "drawing" special signs.

The only unclear thing is which markets VAIO Pocket VGF-AP1 is going to compete with iPod in. According to the press release, the player will go on sale in Japan next month (with MSRP of $475), but no shipments or pricing information regarding North America or Europe is disclosed (475 äîëëàðîâ). This makes any planned competition with iPod look more like a dream. ;) Especially considering that VGF-AP1 features USB2.0 and cradle, while iPod features IEEE1394 and USB2.0.

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