Sony has always had a bit of a weird ability to create technically strong hardware that sports arcane interfaces. Their products have usually revelled in names only a geek could love whilst being shrouded in attractive casings.
Enter the 'Network Walkman NW-HD1' Sony's proposed iPod killer. Problem is that the Network Walkman is looking like a big flop before it's even available in stores. Sony have over-hyped the device's capabilities, botched the interface, made poor technical decisions (forcing users to convert music to ATRAC3) and been slow to market. In the meantime Apple have been able to release a new version of the iPod with a higher battery life, even slicker interface and introduce a price cut. This leaves Sony as an expensive late-comer to the digital music player.
Poor old Sony can't even agree who should be making digital music devices, the Walkman group or the Vaio group so we will be treated to an even more expensive Vaio player from Sony later in the year.
Apple probably can't believe their luck. Read the whole WSJ review on Sony's sorry little music player here.