Sony executives yesterday said they "fell asleep" in the portable music market - but the company is awake now.

Sony plans to improve its position in the market by next year, promising a range of products that aim at Apple's iPod.

Dow Jones reports that senior Sony executives have admitted that Sony's stature in the portable-music business has suffered. Sony Electronics president of consumer sales, Stan Glasgow, said: "Our performance to date has been less than good, Maybe part of that was being affiliated with a music company. Maybe part was us resting on our laurels."

By next summer Sony plans to introduce new digital music players with MP3 support and more user-friendly interfaces. The company also intends bringing portable video devices to market.

Though executives credited Apple on its success, they see the market as only at the beginning.