c|net reports that Sony is working to add native MP3 support to its digital music players. These devices currently play audio only in Sony’s proprietary encoding format, ATRAC (Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding) — a file format not supported by any other digital players. Analysts suggest that such a move will allow Sony to be more competitive in the digital player market where sales of its players lag far behind Apple’s iPod.
Current plans are to add MP3 support to Sony’s flash-based players in the early part of 2005. The company will reportedly offer software that allows owners of Sony’s current models to upgrade their players to play MP3 files.