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Jun 15, 2009

Sony Walkman to run Android

Google's Android continues to pick up steam and become a legitimate platform across many different categories of gadgetry. Everything from mobile phones to netbooks to even picture frames are being built around the Linux variant.

Sony has been outed this week as building the next round of their venerable Walkman products around Google's Open Source OS. Clearly, this isn't a stretch as the Android-based G1 already performs many of the Walkman's traditional roles and adds communications capabilities as well.

And then there is the PSPGo which also does a lot of the stuff you'd want in a Walkman. Why not pare down the PSP OS and put that on a $50 piece of hardware with 16GB of storage?

The answer, I think, is that Android has some legs to it. With all of these different hardware providers building devices around the platform, the economics of scale start to take hold. Software development becomes more rewarding when more devices are delivering prospective consumers.

Plus, Sony can stop relying on Microsoft, which hasn't done well for them, for their mobile products. The hyped Experia-X1 Windows Mobile device barely makes headlines even though it is some of the most advanced hardware available. Plus Microsoft has gone off and built a ZuneHD. It is hard to compete against a device that is built by the maker of your device's software.

I'd expect this device to be in the class of the iPod touch or the ZuneHD and be ready for 2010 CES. It will no doubt have some classically Sony touches like an OLED screen, quality sound and perhaps some PSP gaming ties. Whatever the case, the news is a big win for Android.

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