Back when I was a kid, the Sony Walkman was the iPod of the day. Walking down the streets of my home city, you would be hard pressed not to see someone listening to a mix tape on one of the little gadgets. Well, years have gone by, and the wheel has turned and now the iPod fills that function. But that does not mean that Sony hasn’t got its eye on the mp3 player market, once again with plans of domination.

In Europe and North America the iPod is king, but it seems that in Japan Sony’s new line up of MP3 players is giving Apple a run for its money. And although Apple is still the top vendor of hard drive players to the gadget loving masses in Japan, there is a swing towards Sony products in progress.

Might this trend spread to Europe, America and the UK? Could Sony seriously challenge Apple with a new player that blows iPod away? Maybe not right now, but in the future is it certainly possible.

"There is no question that Sony has the potential of being much more competitive," said Tim Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies, a U S based research firm. "It could emerge as a more formidable rival to Apple over the next three years."