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(Pocket-lint) - Sony has launched a new line-up of flash based MP3 players to tackle Apple's iPod Shuffle. The new models will start at 256Mb of memory and cost under £70.

"Until now, the complaint was that Sony products sold at a major premium," said Gregory Kukolj, general manager of the personal audio group in Europe.

Sony's new flash memory players are equipped with chips capable of storing 256 megabytes, 512 megabytes or one gigabyte of data. Sony also said that the new devices would have 50 hours of battery life with the ability to play for 3 hours will a charge of just 3 minutes.

The 1Gb model will still cost £200 compared to Apple's iPod Shuffle at £99. The new models will feature a OLED display though.

The new models - called the NW-E103, NW-E105 and NW-E107 will weigh less than one ounce and are about the size of a poker chip. They offer up to 70 hours of continuous playback on one "AAA" battery and feature a backlit LCD for easy viewing of track information. The models connect directly to a PC's USB port enabling high speed transfer of data.

Sony also launched the 400 and 500 Series of Players today; NW-E405, NW-E407, NW-E505 and NW-E507.

The devices provide up to 50 hours of continuous playback on a rechargeable battery and feature a quick-charge function that enables three hours of playback on a time-saving, three-minute charge directly from your PC via USB. Sony also state that you'll be able to achieve 80% charge in about 45 minutes.

The NW-E405 model is offered in dark blue with 512 MB of storage while the NW-E407 has a contemporary black finish and 1GB of built-in memory.

The NW-E505 and NW-E507 models include an FM tuner.

The NW-E505 has 512 MB of capacity and comes in a choice of light blue or pink both with a chic, metallic finish. The NW-E507 is offered in silver with 1 GB of storage.

The new models will be on show at CeBit the technology show in Germany.

Pocket-lint will be attending the show so will keep you post on any further developments.

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 8 March 2005.