News and views about the iPod and other interesting tech trends.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

From the not-quite-apples-to-apples department:

After Sony introduced its new group of portable MP3 players, Apple has fired back at the electronics giant, saying Sony is unfairly claiming a high song capacity on it's 20GB player, using a marketing gimmick instead of a true "apples to apples" comparison (sorry, I couldn't resist). Sony's claim of 13,000 songs (on their 20GB player) is based on encoding of 48kpbs, which is much lower (and reportedly sounds much worse) than the de facto 128kbps compression standard. More common compression would yield about 5,000 songs on both Apple's and Sony's respective players.

It is interesting to note that, yet again, Sony seems to be pushing their proprietary format (this time, the MiniDisc format ATRAC3). In order to use their players, users must convert their (unprotected) WMA, MP3, or AAC files to ATRAC3 (with an ostensible loss of quality) to store them on Sony's players. I do not think that any Sony player can truly be considered an "iPod killer" until it allows people to transfer their music collections natively onto Sony players. If the iPod taught us anything about consumer electronics, it is that simplicity is a good thing.

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