Sony's new look Walkman gets ready to make it's challenge in the portable music market...

Electronics giant SONY have unveiled a new 20 Gigabyte digital WALKMAN that aims to challenge the dominance of the iPOD.

The Network Walkman NW-HD1 is the latest model in the legendary Walkman brand, which was born in 1979 as a portable cassette player, according to Yahoo!.

Now, the new model is Sony’s latest attempt to gain ground from Apple, who have dominated the portable music market since launching the iPod three years ago.

Launching in Japan in July, the new Walkman can store 13,000 songs – 3,000 more than the 40 Gigabyte iPod – by using advanced compression technology.

“This very clearly completes the range for us,” said Robert Ashcroft, senior vice president of Sony Network Services Europe.

However, like all Sony digital players The NW-HD1 will play songs in the company’s ATRAC format, meaning it will it will not support mp3 and therefore not be compatible with many of the major online stores.

Yet it will be the most compact player yet to hit the market, slightly larger than a credit card and under half an inch thick. The 30-hour battery will last three times longer than that of the iPod, and shock-resistant technology means that the hard drive will survive the ‘one metre drop test’.

It is expected to hit Europe this autumn.