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Sony's New Portable 6X CD-ROM Discman


Sony Electronics announced the PRD-650 Discman portable CD-ROM drive, a new "must have" for anyone seeking high performance and portable CD-ROM access.

The lightweight and sleek CD-ROM player is perfect for business travelers who do mobile computing, students who require access to reference material and want to use the CD-ROM Discman unit as a stand-alone audio unit, and small office/home office users who want multifunction capabilities.

The PRD-650 Discman drive features 6X CD-ROM performance in a slim, 10-ounce body that effortlessly connects to your portable or desktop computer. It is the most efficient portable CD-ROM drive available, requiring only four AA batteries or an optional lithium-ion battery to provide several hours of CD-ROM and audio CD use.

It features a quick 280 millisecond average access time and up to a 900 KB/second transfer rate, using AC power. Consistent with Sony's style, it is very easy to use and possesses classic Discman model lines.

"With its strong performance, small footprint and low cost of ownership, the PRD-650 Discman CD-ROM drive stands at the crossroads of three hot markets -- CD-ROM, portable computing and desktop connectivity," said Chuck Bridges, marketing manager for Sony Information Technologies of America.

"Not too long ago, users saw the portable CD-ROM drive as a luxury. Now they realize that it is a valuable business computing tool as well as a cool entertainment device."

An important feature of the PRD-650 Discman drive is its ability to easily connect to a portable or desktop computer. This is especially critical for a portable device that needs to function in a variety of locations: on the road, in the office or at home. It comes standard with a PC card and cable for the Wintel platform or a SCSI II Powerbook Interface cable for the Macintosh platform.

It connects to desktop units with the addition of an optional accessory cable. The business world's dependence on CD-ROM technology for referencing database information, distributing data, loading applications and delivering multimedia presentations makes the connectivity feature of the portable Discman drive invaluable.

The higher operating performance of the PRD-650 Discman CD-ROM drive is a very important asset. For a traveling computer user, the less frequently the batteries need to be changed in a portable device, the better. At 35,000 feet in an airplane, the availability of fresh batteries is unlikely, so a power hungry CD-ROM drive is unacceptable.

The Discman unit comes ready to be powered three different ways: with the supplied AC power adapter, with four AA batteries (two less than competitive portable CD-ROM drives require) or with an optional compact lithium-ion battery. The alkaline and lithium-ion batteries provide two full hours of CD-ROM playback and 12 hours or eight hours of audio playback respectively.

Besides convenience, the PRD-650 Discman drive's higher operating performance translates into a lower cost of ownership than competitive products. Every six-battery refill that a competitor's portable CD-ROM drive requires adds to its consumable cost over the Sony Discman unit. Over the course of the PRD-650 drive's lifetime this adds up to a substantial savings, up to hundreds of dollars.

When comparing rechargeable power, the Discman drive's use of the superior lithium-ion battery gives it a competitive advantage over drives that use a nickel-cadmium battery. The lithium-ion battery can be recharged even when it is partially drained, while a nickel cadmium battery needs to be fully depleted before it can be refreshed.

In addition, lithium-ion batteries have up to three times the usage cycles as nickel-cadmium batteries. For a business traveler or for anyone who does not want to squander time on battery maintenance, the Sony lithium-ion battery is the perfect solution.

A key component of portability is the size of the device. The PRD-650 Discman unit weighs a mere 10 ounces and is so streamlined it could literally hide behind the footprint of its competition. It can easily fit into a briefcase, purse, backpack, glove compartment or a variety of other places a portable device needs to go.

Every ounce counts on the way to the plane or on the way to the office and Sony's expertise in designing lightweight, portable products is evident with the small footprint of the Discman drive.

Keeping in line with Sony's philosophy of making technology simple to use is the PRD-650 Discman drive's operation, starting from the moment a customer takes it out of the box. Set up is simple with plug and play auto installation.

The controls are easy to find, see and operate. It can play MPC2 multimedia CD-ROMs, audio CDs, CD Extra, Photo CD, Video CD, and various other common formats. Headphones that deliver crisp, clear sound are included. The PRD-650 Discman CD-ROM drive comes with a one-year, limited warranty and technical support from Sony's tech line.

The PRD-650 Discman drive begins shipping in November and will be sold through Sony's commercial distribution channels. The estimated selling price is $399.99.


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