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A walkman phone is any one of the mobile handsets included in the Sony Ericsson Walkman series, which are music-centered mobile phones. This line of phones is an integration of Sony’s Walkman brand, which originally marketed portable cassette tape players.
The first Walkman, which then played cassette tapes, was released in July 1979. Over the years, this was followed by the launch of several other portable entertainment devices such as the Discman for CDs, the Video Walkman, the MiniDisc Walkman, the Network Walkman series for digital music, and finally, the Walkman Video MP3 Players.
However, with the rise of similar products such as the wildly popular Apple iPod, Sony slowly lost its steam in the portable music player market. To revive the Walkman brand, the company then developed its W series of Walkman phones under the Sony Ericsson label, starting with the Sony Ericsson W800 in 2005.
As with most middle- to high-end phones released over the past few years, Walkman phones are already equipped with standard features such as color touch screens (for the latest models), built-in cameras, and video calling and streaming capabilities. But it is their audio features that really make them stand out.
Audio capabilities include play list organization, audio equalization and the capacity to function as a standalone music player. The more recent releases of these music phones also boast distortion-free stereo sound, larger storage capacity and customizable equalizer presets, which allow the user to choose from several different music styles. In 2008, Sony Ericsson launched its Web-based music download service, PlayNow Arena, which gives users access to more than 5 million tracks.
Instead of using Sony’s proprietary audio format, ATRAC, like the previous Walkman players, Walkman phones support AAC, MP3, and M4A file formats.