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Apple's got a new iPod? That is like so yesterday's news. Today it's all about Sony, a company that will not stand idly by while Apple turns its famous Walkman brand into a nostalgia piece. Well, actually, that is pretty much what they've been doing until now (although Sony's audio equipment business has become profitable again thanks the sales of the flash-based Walkman).

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The new boss of Sony, Sir Howard Stringer, officially takes control at the end of the month and is expected to begin announcing his new management team sometime next week. This is perhaps the first sign that Stringer is in it to win it. There are five new players in all, two hard-drive models and three flashers. Unlike Apple, who announces new products and then has them for sale in stores a few days later, these portables won't go on sale until November 19—in Japan. And when will they reach the U.S.? Be patient, friends, until sometime this holiday. More details on each players in the posts that follow.