Sony expands music, game streaming services to tablets

The iconic Tokyo-based company is looking to leverage its broad entertainment holdings through its electronics products.

Sony has expanded its streaming music and on-demand gaming services to its new tablet, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

The Tokyo-based company has launched a new version of its "Music Unlimited" application that broadens the service to the Android-based Sony Tablet released last month. The new application is available in nine countries including the U.S., Australia, and parts of Europe, spokeswoman Noriko Shoji said.

A tablet version of its "PlayStation Store" has also been released, allowing officially certified games to be purchased and downloaded to the device. That service is available to a different group of countries, which include the U.S., Canada, Japan and major European markets.

Sony is the only major electronics maker to have its own music, movie and video game franchises, and is hoping to use them to differentiate its tablets from the pack in pursuit of Apple's iPad. Its streaming music service, which comes in capped and unlimited versions, is now available on its Bravia TVs, PlayStation game consoles and Xperia phones, as well as its computers and tablets. It also runs on other Android devices.

The music service was offered on its new tablets slightly after they were launched because more time was required for development, Shoji said. She said the company will make the service compatible with future tablets, such as the two-screen clamshell unit that goes on sale later this month.

On the Android Market website, the initial reception to the Music Unlimited service for tablets was negative, with 33 users giving it one star and several comments saying it doesn't start up properly.

The company said it will also launch an eBook store for its tablets later this month.

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