If we are to believe NYNewsDay.com, it would appear that whatever blindfold Sony was wearing that stopped them seeing the benefits of native MP3 support has been well and truly removed. Sony already announced that new flash-memory based players would support MP3, but previously appeared stubborn on the fact that the larger capacity hard-drive based players (like the sexy NW-HD1) would still only support ATRAC. Of course Sony argued that you could use MP3s, because their software would automatically convert them to ATRAC before copying them to the player. Can you say “lossy format to lossy format conversion”?
So anyway, NYNewsDay reports thusly [emphasis mine]:
Eventually, change will filter down to Sony’s hard-disk players and to products offered for sale in the United States. Sony also plans to offer software to upgrade existing digital music players so they, too, can play MP3s.
“It will be done within a short while,” Robert Ashcroft, Sony Europe’s senior vice president of network services, told Reuters. “It’s being done for those people who already have a large music collection in the MP3 format. It will now be quicker for them to add their collection from their PC to a Sony device if they choose to leave it in the naked MP3 format.”
If we read that correctly, I’m pretty sure it indicates native MP3 support for the NW-HD1, which would, as the kids say, rock!