Sony's Walkman range of MP3 players could be getting a major overhaul if rumours of Android-based devices are true.
Android might be surfacing on increasing quantities of smartphones – and even certain netbooks – but Sony is taking the open-source OS some place new: the MP3 player.
claims that Sony is looking to leapfrog into the portable music device lead with a new Walkman range based on Google's Android platform.
Described by Impress as “an open secret,
” the move would see Sony attempt to create a common platform for multiple devices: while Android would be likely to get its first outing on the company's range of Walkman-branded music and video players, it could also see use on the company's Mylo range of mobile internet devices. This consolidation of operating systems would vastly simplify Sony's development of the products, and possibly even raise future intercompatibility options.
With Sony's mobile phone arm – a joint venture with industry specialists Ericsson – already looking at Android-based handsets, it's no surprise that the company is looking to make use of the system. Whether the Sony Android would include the features which fans of the platform have come to expect – such as the Android Marketplace from which users can download additional applications to customise their system – is not yet known.
If Sony are indeed planning a move to Android, it could be just what the company is looking for: with early models relying largely on the Walkman brand rather than technical merit, its range of MP3 players has been – while successful – trailing behind Apple and even Microsoft. A fresh look at the hardware coupled with the possibilities offered by Android could see that change in the very near future.
Do you think that Android is overkill for a simple Walkman-style device, or do you predict that we'll see Google's OS making a splash in ever more diverse markets? Share your thoughts over in the forums