In the U.S., "iPod" is pretty much synonymous with "MP3 player." How many people do you know who own anything else? It's the same in Japan, but times could be a-changin'. See, the iPod has finally be out-sold, and it was beat by the venerable Sony Walkman.
Research firm BCN has been keeping tabs on monthly MP3 player sales in Japan since 2001, and, since then, Sony — Japan's biggest name in consumer electronics — has not been able to outperform the iPod. Sony did actually manage to outsell it for one week last September, but fell behind for the month.
It's a rather big deal, then, that Sony's new Walkman S line, released in May, managed to pull into the lead for the entirety of a month. As you can see from the picture above, the Walkman S certainly owes a great deal to the iPod design-wise, though a win's a win.
It makes you think. Is there going to come a day where we don't think of an iPod as the MP3 player? Is that even possible? Maybe cellphones and MP3 players will continue to merge to a point where we no longer think of them as separate gadgets anymore.