A lot of people have been drooling over the Asian Sony S and A series players which are a bit more appealing than the S540 and E340 players we have on this side of the planet. Sony have always kept their schedules for releasing same-generation players at the same time; S610/A810, A820/A720, S630/S730/E430 and S540/E340 (with the middle number indicating generation) have all been released at the same time. I therefore predicted that the first we’d see of the Asia style players would be around CES in form of a A850 device, continuing the tradition. Instead, a Canadian forum member spotted a quiet release of the S740 in Canada.
Only the 16GB model is listed on the Canadian Sonystyle ATM, but there’s likely to be at least a 8GB model out there as well and also perhaps a 32GB model. The player is identical or at least close to identical with the Asian S740, which is available in 8, 16 and 32GB. The A840 in Asia goes to 64GB, so 32GB is sure to sound like a disappointment for a lot of Sony fans.
Ignoring the whole “where, what, who” for a moment, the S740 has a lot to show for under the hood. Podcast support is back from being removed from the S540, and the same seems to be true for themes. As with previous S7XX devices it has noise canceling, so there might be a S640 without that feature coming too. TV out is a new feature that is sure to help since the screen is only 2″, but with the same old useless 320×240 resolution video support I doubt anyone would bother with that feature. An FM radio is also in place. Battery life is rated at 43 hours for audio, 10 for video.
Honestly I don’t know what Sony is doing anymore- they once made sense with their releases, but have lately gone a bit Philips. Currently you can get the X series, W series, S540 and E340 series in the US, but not the B140 series. You can also get generation 3 devices which doesn’t seemed to be phased out. In Europe, you can get all of the above as well as the B140. Asia has completely different models, but those seem to be coming here. The Korean version of the S740 is designated a NWZ player (Asian players are normally designated NW), so that might be that player we’re seeing. Either way, there’s now a S740 in the mix, which makes the lineup something like this, from bottom to top: W-series, B140, E340, E430, S540, S630/S730, S640/S740, X-series. I have a hard time seeing why a company needs to have 10 models in the market at once, but maybe that’s just me. The S740 is nice, for sure, and I can’t wait for a possible future NWZ-A840/A850), but Sony needs to decide what they’re trying to do instead of spewing out more players than the rest of the manufacturers combined.