Instalment 1,337 in Sony's attempted drive back to relevance sees the Japan release in February of an impressive wireless home audio solution designed for getting tunes off your PC and into your living room.
The Sony VaioVGF-WA1 Wireless Digital Music Streamer costs JPY35,000 (£148) and is a stylish variation on an old concept that was executed well in Apple's AirPort Express. The idea is pretty simple - just switch on a PC running any of iTunes, Sony's SonicStage or Windows Media Player and the WA1 uses your home wireless network to suck up the audio held in those programs and deliver it wherever you like.
Capable, portable, desirable?
Sony's device differs from AirPort Express in that has a touch-sensitive screen, plays more audio formats (MP3, ATRAC, WMA, non-DRM AAC), has two 8W speakers built in, costs three times as much and can tune into any internet radio station on the Live365 network . It also has 128MB of memory onboard for holding, say, around one CD's worth of music.
Lastly, there's a remote control that can operate a sleep timer and an alarm clock for those late nights and early mornings in bed. That's all very well but with all this audio-on-demand technology, if the giant electronics firms have their way we'll soon be listening to music on their products 24/7. It's not like there was a shortage of music in our lives before, was it? J Mark Lytle