Sony will this month ship its third attempt at a Walkman-oriented iTunes-style music management application that will hopefully solve the problems users have experienced with its Connect Player 1.0 software. It also adds support for the iPod-friendly AAC music format.
SonicStage CP will be available as a free download from the end of the month, Sony said. Connect Player was launched last year and quickly drew fire from some users who complained the code introduced instabilities on host PCs. Sony formally acknowledged the problem in January, and suggested that users downgrade to its older SonicStage application.
SonicStage has been around since the first Walkman-branded digital music players shipped in the late 1990s. Originally criticised for its user-unfriendliness, the tool has been updated by Sony a number of times and was finally looking right when the consumer electronics giant launched Connect Player.
The new release integrates some Connect Player features into SonicStage, such as the former's Artist Link feature, which generates a random playlist from a given band or singer. This playlist can now be edited. The software will support AAC tracks, saved as .m4a, .3gp and .mp4 files, though songs with DRM protection will remain unplayable.
Still, the move makes it easy for iPod/iTunes users to switch apps and play their old songs in the new software, which will be available here at the end of May. ®