Sony is launching a new lineup of cheaper Walkman portable music players in another attempt to grab back share from market leader Apple Computer and its popular iPod device. Sony invented the Walkman cassette player 26 years ago and dominated the personal audio market for two decades. But it has watched that lead slip away because of the runaway success of the iPod and growing competition from Asian manufacturers.
Sony’s new flash memory players are equipped with chips capable of storing 256MB, 512MB or 1GB of data. The most expensive model, which offers 1GB of storage, will go for about about $200 with the FM radio and will be able to store the equivalent of 45 compact discs.
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