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Bluetooth: Sony’s new Memory Stick

This week Sony unveiled more of its lineup for 2007, including a number of traditional audio products such as boomboxes and a variety of shelf systems that can use Bluetooth to stream audio from a cell phone or Sony Network Walkman. Bluetooth has also been shown as an option for Sony’s digital media port on its receivers and new Bravia (nee DreamSystem) home theater systems.

It’s good to see Sony getting a jump on Bluetooth for home A/V integration. The company arrived late to the iPod speaker dock game, ceding much of that market to the likes of BoseĀ and Altec Lansing, but has an opportunity to capitalize on A2DP Bluetooth audio. Bluetooth is a standard, of course, but implementation of it has had a disproportionate share of incompatibilities. A cheap example is the Fossil/Sony Ericsson Bluetooth Caller ID watches, so there’s room for optimization, particularly with Sony Ericsson mobiles.

Since Bluetooth audio is streamed, it avoids some of the messy DRM file transfer issues on memory cards. Meanwhile, the memory card format wars have reached detente, with Sony supporting SD in more products such as the PlayStation 3, Sony Reader, and of course Vaio PCs.

Speaking of Bluetooth stereo audio, I believe Apple will support it in the iPhone even though it has been reluctant to do so in the iPod. The competition here is too great and Apple has traditionally executed well on standards such as USB, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in Macs. Consider it another carrot for today’s iPod user.