Sony officially killed off its cassette line of Walkman music players toward the end of last year, which also killed off pretty much any interest we had in anything Walkman (more on that inside). What could bring us back? Well, a smartphone that's more into music than calling isn't a bad start.
So, why the dig at the Walkman? No, we don't hate the brand. Think: when's the last time you got excited about an MP3 player? There's no reason to have one if you have a decent smartphone (unless you want something for, say, a jog, like a Shuffle). Hell, even Apple barely mentions the iPod.
Putting a little phone functionality into the Walkman line makes sense. Now it's a smartphone with a purpose. That purpose? Well, Sony is hoping music lovers will consider an Android-powered Walkman phone over handsets that aren't flaunting that hook.
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As a smartphone, the Android Walkman's specs won't blow your boots off. Like every smartphone ever, when it comes out it'll be powerful with a crisp screen and yadda yadda yadda — it'll be all the things that every smartphone can tout.
What sets the Android Walkman apart is one little button. (Yep, a physical button in this touchscreen-loving world.) The W.Button is your portal to your music controls no matter what else you're doing with the phone. Even if you're using an app or browsing the Web, you'll always be able to bring your music controls back to the fore at the touch of a button.
It's a small thing, sure, but it's something that'll set an Android Walkman apart in a sea of non-iPhones. The Android Walkman you see above is just a prototype, so no word on pricing or availability just yet.