updated 9/12/2006 1:38:41 PM ET 2006-09-12T17:38:41

Sony Corp. said Tuesday it will postpone the Japan launch of its new digital Walkman by a week due to a part malfunction, just a week after the Japanese manufacturer said it would delay the launch of its PlayStation 3 game console in Europe.

The portable digital music player NW-S203F, which was slated to hit Japanese stores Friday, will instead go on sale on Sept. 23, according to Sony official Takashi Uehara.

The delay is due to the malfunction of a part used in the flash memory-based Walkmans, Uehara said, but refused to specify the part, the nature of the malfunction, or the number of units affected.

The move came just a week after Sony said it would postpone the European launch of its PlayStation 3 by four months to March over problems with producing a component in the Blu-ray disc part of the machine.

The much-awaited update to the popular game console is slated to hit stores in November in the United States and Japan as planned, but fewer units will be available for the launch dates, the executive in charge of the project said last week.

These setbacks have come at a critical time for Sony, which has been overhauling its electronics operations to catch up in key electronics products.

Sony has also been hurt by huge recalls of defective laptop batteries made by one of Sony’s subsidiaries, Sony Energy Devices Corp., which sent the Tokyo-based company’s shares tumbling.

Dell Inc. and Apple Computer last month recalled almost 6 million Sony-made batteries used in their laptops, citing concerns that the batteries could overheat and catch fire.

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