Sony interested in challenging Apple's iPad

The company says it's interested in entering the market between smartphones and netbooks

Sony hinted on Thursday that it's preparing a challenger to Apple's upcoming iPad.

"That is a market we are also very interested in. We are confident we have the skills to create a product," said Nobuyuki Oneda, Sony's CFO, who was speaking at a Tokyo news conference held to announce the company's quarterly financial results.

Oneda didn't provide any details of any planned products but did say Sony is eyeing a similar market to the upcoming Apple gadget.

"Time-wise we are a little behind the iPad but it's a space we would like to be an active player in," said Oneda.

Sony said in October that it plans to launch a number of new mobile products that are built around network-based services.

The devices will connect into Sony's new online service, an Internet-based store that will bring music, movies, games and electronic books to a range of Sony products including Bravia TVs, Vaio PCs, Walkman music players and Reader e-book readers.

The launch of the iPad, due in March, isn't expected to impact the e-book reader market, which Oneda said is growing "exponentially."

"The [Sony Reader] Daily Edition with 3G network connectivity has received great acclaim and we plan to expand sales going forward," he said.

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