Sony has given its hard-disk drive-based Network Walkman some design tweaks and a lower price for a new model (NW-HD2) that will go on sale in October.

The company has introduced a range of colours, replacing the originally available silver or black product with models in silver, blue or pink, said Hanae Kato, a spokeswoman for Sony Marketing of Japan.

Sony's switch to blue and pink reflects Apple's success with those particular colours of iPod mini in Japan, and the pink and green versions are popular among young women, said Michiko Nakatani, a spokeswoman for Apple's Japanese unit.

The player can also be charged now from the power cord by using a small interface adapter. Users had to place the first model in a cradle to charge it. The in-line remote control is also gone from the headphone cord on new version, Kato said.

The new player features a 20GB hard-disk drive and is compatible with Sony's ATRAC3 compression format. Software is included to convert songs from a number of other formats, including MP3.

The NW-HD2 will be available in Japan from October 10 for about ¥40,000 ($360). When the original version went on sale in July it cost ¥53,000. Apple's 20GB iPod sells for ¥33,400 in Japan.

There are no current plans to sell the device outside Japan.