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Is Sony's secret Rolly an iPod-killer?

Sony begins teasing Rolly audio player

Sony has started a teaser campaign today for a new audio device called Rolly.

As with all good teasers, few details of the device are available but Sony is giving away a few clues in Japan. Chief among them is that Rolly is a "sound entertainment device". Quite what that means isn't clear but more details are promised via a Japanese-language blog over the coming days.

Sony also opened a promotion site called Rolly World that offers even less information (the site was offline on Monday morning). The site currently consists of a mass of small videos, each an apparently random clip of people doing things. There are three people dancing, a cat walking across the street, a taxi driver speaking to a passenger and a drink being poured into a glass.

Each clip ends with a word or phrase that apparently has something to do with the Rolly. These words, which also scroll across the bottom of the screen, include: shuffle, share, music, small, motion, open and communication.

Users visiting the site are invited to apply for one of 50 pairs of tickets to a Rolly party to be held in Tokyo on September 10.

News of the Rolly player first appeared on blogs a couple of weeks ago. Many reported on the existence of the player citing a report by a Belgian blog that said the Rolly would be "egg-shaped", include a speaker, and can move or dance to music. The original website now carries a message saying the story has been removed at the demand of Sony.

Among the rumours is that the device may be unveiled at the IFA show that begins in Berlin on August 31.

A Sony spokeswoman in Tokyo said Rolly would be announced in September in Tokyo.

Sony was once king of the portable music industry. Its iconic Walkman players created the market and then led it for about 20 years until Apple launched the iPod. The iPod quickly stole the lead from Walkman thanks in part to the way it working seamlessly with the iTunes desktop application and an online music store


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