Consumer giant Sony has confirmed that it is in discussions with Intel about the potential of creating an alliance for next-generation home appliance networks.
"We are in talks with Intel on a next-generation home appliance network but have not yet decided any details on the matter," a Sony spokesman said.
Although the spokesman declined any further comment, a Japanese news agency reported that the two companies "will join hands to develop technologies that would allow easy transmission of visual images between personal computers and digital home appliances".
Both companies would also build gadgets using Sony's recently launched Memory Stick, which allows digital video images, music or computer files to be transferred to various electronic devices.
The product could be linked to Intel's AnyPoint Home Network which uses existing phone lines to connect home PCs without additional wiring. Family members can share a single internet connection, allowing two or more users to surf the web at the same time without the need for a second phone line or internet account.
Sony is already beefing up its partnerships with other IT firms. For example, it is working with Microsoft and IBM on electronic music distribution technologies, and has teamed up with Sun Microsystems to develop technology that allows home appliances, digital video and audio equipment to be connected to the internet.
"You cannot develop anything under this digital network era without forming alliances," said Motoharu Sone, an analyst at Universal Securities. "The one between Sony and Intel should be open and the point is, who else will join the camp. That's the key to winning a de facto standard in this digital network business."
Intel was unavailable to comment.
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