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Sony, Sun To Co-Develop Home Devices

Sony Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. Wednesday unveiled plans to collaborate to create Net devices for consumers.

The first phase of the cooperation will be to develop gateway software that will run on digital televisions and home-based Net devices such as set-top boxes.  That software will support both home networking capabilities and home servers.

The companies said that products resulting from the collaboration will support Sun's (SUNW) Java, Jini and Jini Embedded Server technologies.  They also will support the Home Audio-Video Interoperability (HAVi) architecture, which Sony (SNE) developed with several other major consumer electronics vendor.  HAVi is designed to be a peer-to-peer network architecture for home electronics devices.

The goal, the companies say, is to seamlessly connect Net devices in the home and the Internet.  Besides delivering content to the home, the systems will be useable for applications such as providing service and support for appliances over the Internet.

"With the approaching broadband network era, we are moving in a direction that will fundamentally reshape the relationship between digital AV appliances, computers and the Internet," said Nobuyuki Idei, Sony's president and chief executive officer. 

The companies provided no timetable or specific products that they would co-develop.