Sony's Rolly folly

A new device addresses what's surely everyone's main gripe about digital music players -- they just sit there while playing your tunes. Not the Rolly!

Published September 10, 2007 4:10PM (EDT)

"What is this?" asks Sony's promotional video for its new music player, called Rolly. And despite devoting several precious minutes of my life to watching the thing, I'm still trying to guess at that question, and I don't think I'm alone.

As far as anyone can tell the Rolly is a small, egg-shaped device with folding speakers and wheels that allow it to move about on a desk or the floor in time to your music. Its moves are customizable -- you can play Bob Fosse on your computer, sending the moves to the Rolly via Bluetooth, and you can also trade Rolly dances with the surely dozens of other people who purchased it.

I know what you're thinking: Finally, a music player that fixes what's irked me about every other player I've owned, from the phonograph to the iPhone -- they all just sit there, immobile, while playing my songs! Wouldn't it be heaven if, like a flashback to the dancing California Raisin novelty gifts of yore, my iPod moved while I cranked up my John Mayer? (Don't hide it, everyone loves John Mayer.)

If a moving player is really your bag you likely went ape when videos of the Rolly first began hitting the Web a couple weeks ago. Now, making it official, Sony says the Rolly will debut in Japan on Sept. 29. It'll have a capacity of 1 GB and five hours of battery life, and will sell for ¥40,000 (about $350).

Seriously, check out this video. Is the Rolly something you can see on your mantle?

[Sony's Japanese product page via Engadget and the WSJ.]

By Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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