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Sony Readies Its First Bluetooth Walkman

San Diego — Sony is bringing Bluetooth to Walkman MP3 players for the first time in its latest portable line, which also boosts flash-memory capacity to 16GB and brings noise-canceling headphones to video-capable Walkman players for the first time.

All models in four new series of flash-memory Walkman players play most standard audio and video codecs in native form, offer “clear audio” to restore music frequencies lost during compression, and offer extended battery life between 33 and 36 hours, depending on the model.

They are compatible with music formats including security-enhanced WMA, non-secure AAC, linear PCM and MP3. They also store JPEG photos and AVC Baseline Profile and MPEG-4 videos.

In 2006, Sony shipped its first music-only MP3 players with noise-canceling headphones.

All models are expected to ship towards the end of March.

The NWZ-S710 series, available in 4GB and 8GB models at respective suggested retails of $150 and $200, offers noise cancellation to reduce ambient background noise. They’re aimed at business travelers and families who want to keep noise levels down. Both versions feature a 1.8-inch QVGA screen and an FM tuner.

The NWZ-A720 series moves to a 2.4-inch QVGA screen with Windows Media DRM compatibility. It comes in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB capacities at $150, $200 and $300, respectively.

The NWZ-A820 series offers similar features but adds stereo Bluetooth capability. The 16GB model retails for $320. The NWZ-A828K with 8GB memory is bundled with Bluetooth behind-the-neck style headphones at $270.