The latest bump given by Sony to its Walkman line-up of digital audio players was announced in Tokyo this morning, with a lot of cosmetic changes and minor tweaks adding up to a very attractive alternative to some of the more popular flash-memory DAPs.

Three new 29g E-Series USB-stick-type Walkmen will be available in Japan from April 21 and in Europe and the US soon after. They range from the 1GB NW-E013, through the 2GB NW-E015 to the 4GB NW-E016 - prices are ¥11,000 (£47), ¥14,000 (£60) and ¥20,000 (£85) respectively.

Album cover search

The improvements on previous models include new audio-processing technology for clearer music through headphones, a new three-line colour LCD screen that can display album artwork for simpler searches and a 30-hour battery life.

As with older Walkmen, three minutes of quick charging from a USB port provides enough juice for three hours of music playback. Lastly, there are a selection of new colours to choose from, including pink and gold of course, and a range of accessories that includes a clip and a sports armband.