The iPod, the iPhone and now the iPad – all three are products from Apple that have captured the heart and imagination of the general public, to quickly become bestsellers around the globe. Now the well known and loved Japanese electronics company Sony have admitted their desire for a piece of the mobile pie, by starting to develop a new range of items set to be in direct competition with Apple’s own products. It seems that breaking the domination of Apple’s market share might be an impossible task, but perhaps Sony is well placed to take a stab at it.

Sony have a long standing relationship with the Swedish mobile phone developer Ericsson, together creating the Sony Ericsson range of phones that have been popular throughout their lifetime. Now it seems that one of the products under development is a new smartphone that will contain the usual functionality we’ve come to expect from our portable devices, such as the ability to hop online with the help of mobile broadband providers. There will be an added incentive however, in the form of the ability to download PlayStation games via wireless or mobile wireless broadband to play on the handset.

Another rumoured project in development would step into the arena of the new Apple iPad. It is said to be a device that will encompass the functionality of a netbook computer, allowing users to do their word-processing and to jump online with mobile broadband providers, while also involving elements of electronic book readers, and, of course, the PlayStation Portable (PSP) games console. What you would be left with is a portable computer upon which you can play games, read books and get online with mobile wireless broadband. If successful, this product could be a very real rival to the upcoming iPad.

In the US this month, Sony is due to release its new online media platform that will operate in a similar way to Apple’s iTunes, providing users with the ability to download movies, music and more. It’s through this platform that it is expected the two new devices will function, allowing users to download content through their mobile wireless broadband at any time.

Apple’s domination of the portable devices market is well shown, with more than 40 million iPhones having been sold since their release. In recent years, Sony’s PSP games console has been threatened by the iPod Touch and the iPhone itself, as these devices have always offered additional functionality to the PSP itself. Likewise, Apple’s iPad is sure to offer an alternative to those considering Sony’s Reader or Amazon’s Kindle for use as eBook readers.

Sony Ericsson will also be releasing its very first smartphone, known as the Xperia X10, in April of this year. It will operate by utilising the Google developed Android operating system. But stay posted for more information regarding the two new devices from Sony, apparently rumoured for release later within 2010.