Sony Shuffles Past Apple In Japan

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With no iTunes competition in Japan, Sony has been able to move ahead in the flash memory-based player category.

It’s not as though Sony can’t compete with Apple. The Japanese company pioneered portable music players a long time ago with the Walkman cassette player. They have a lot of engineering and development talent to draw from, even though that talent has worked against each other within Sony in the past.

The influence of new top man Howard Stringer may be having an impact. Sony still lags behind Apple in the hard-drive music player category in Japan. But its memory-based players have pushed Apple and the iPod Shuffle to second place, according to Reuters.

Those flash memory players debuted in March with stylish designs and a battery life of around 50 hours. They range in capacity from 256MB to 1GB, and unlike the iPod Shuffle, they feature an organic electroluminescence display screen.

Even at a higher price point, $199 USD for a 1GB NW-E507 player compared to Apple’s $129 1GB iPod Shuffle, the little players have had big sales. Sony also offers its players in a variety of colors.

Apple still controls the media player market in the US and Europe. Though it was rumored to be ready to offer iTunes in Japan earlier this year, the company denied it had plans to do so.

That’s the factor that could swing momentum and sales back to the iPod Shuffle. While Sony can make a dazzling piece of hardware, their software development has led to products consumers find difficult to use. Sony’s Connect music store has had virtually no impact on the digital music market.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Sony Shuffles Past Apple In Japan
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