Sony tries to kill the iPod with the Walkman NW-HD1

25-years after Sony first shipped the legendary Sony Walkman personal cassette player and radio, the electronics giant is launching a new digital music player called the NW-HD1 that they hope will topple Apple‘s mega hit, the iPod.

But for now, Apple has nothing to worry about. Sony’s Walkman NW-HD1 is as clunky as its name. The gadget looks great, but it’s ruined by a bizarre insistence on a proprietary Sony music file format called ATRAC, a confusing navigation scheme and software that tries to be flashy but is incredibly frustrating.

And the Sony, which works only with a PC running Microsoft Windows, costs $399. That’s $100 more than an iPod, which can run on either a Windows or Macintosh machine while providing the same 20-gigabyte music capacity. A 40-gigabyte iPod runs $399.

Sony needs to take a page from HP‘s book and license the iPod, not try to kill it.

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