New from Sony: an iPod accessory

Sony is getting into the iPod accessory market with the launch in the U.S. of an iPod docking station

If you can't beat them, join them? Sony is getting into the iPod accessory market with the U.S. launch of an iPod docking station.

The CPF-IP001 will go on sale in the U.S. in March this year for about US$250 and is already listed on the SonyStyle online shop. Users insert the iPod in a cradle in the center of the device and music can then be enjoyed through a pair of attached speakers. There's also a remote control so the iPod can be commanded from a distance.

It's the first complete audio product from Sony exclusively for the iPod and the second with iPod connectivity. Last year Sony began offering an interface adapter that allows iPods to be connected to one of its car audio systems.

The new product is similar to two that Sony has previously launched. The CPF-IX001 allows music to be streamed from a networked PC through the speakers and the CPF-NW001 offers a dock for Sony's Network Walkman players. Sony decided to develop an iPod version when taking into account the needs of users, said Masayo Endo, a spokeswoman for Tokyo-based Sony.

The company, which lost its 20-year lead in the portable music market to Apple Computer Inc., has been battling to surpass the iPod's seemingly impenetrable hold on the market with new versions of its Walkman players but to date hasn't managed to come close to regaining the top-spot.

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