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Sony To Intro Smart Phones, iPad Devices To Combat Apple: Report

Sony wants to emulate Apple's consumer electronics strategy with the introduction of a number of new gadgets, including new smart phones and an iPad-like device, in order to build upon its digital content offerings.

smart phone

Sony, stung by falling cell phone sales through its joint venture with Ericsson and looking to emulate the success of Apple's iTunes offerings, is developing the new gadgets to work with its new Sony Online Service, scheduled to launch this month in the U.S., The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The Sony Online Service is slated to build upon the company's existing PlayStation network. In addition to providing music, movies, and software for downloading, it is expected to allow connection to a variety of Sony devices, including Bravia televisions, mobile devices like the Sony Ericsson smart phones, and Sony game devices.

Slated for development is a new smart phone that can download and play PlayStation games as well as connect to the Sony Online Service to access a variety of online media.

Sony is also developing a portable device to compete against the upcoming Apple iPad tablet by combining some of the functions of a netbook, an e-reader, and a PlayStation Portable, The Wall Street Journal said.

Sony was one of the pioneers in electronic gadgets, starting with its Walkman series and including its many variety of PlayStation gaming consoles.

However, the company has recently made a couple of missteps, giving the initiative to Apple which has enjoyed wild success with its iPod, iPhone, and iPod touch in combination with its iTunes service.

For instance, Sony lost the gaming console initiative to the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox 360 by insisting that the PlayStation include a Blu-ray player, which delayed its release and added to its expense.

Meanwhile, sales of the PSP and PSP Go, portable versions of the PlayStation, are well below expectations, and sales of the Sony Ericsson smart phones fell hard in 2009.

The Wall Street Journal said that Sony is working with Sony Ericsson to develop the new smart phone, and that Sony is taking a more active role in its development than in the past.

Sony CEO Howard Stringer said at last month's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that Sony Ericsson phones will connect to the Sony Online Service in the future

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