Sony president and CEO Nobuyuki Idei, delivered a hard-hitting keynote address at Comdex yesterday.

He outlined his company's vision of a networked future, unveiled several new prototypes and delivered a warning to US companies wanting to play a part in the future networked world.

After acknowledging the lead of American companies in the personal computer industry, Idei said: "The US is under the false impression that it is the leader in mobile communications and non-PC devices. Europe and Japan have a considerable lead over the US and this gap could widen in the future."

He noted the plans of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) to provide a fibre to the curb network nationwide in Japan by 2005. Idei suggested that Japan could jump ahead of the US in the broadband sector and said: "In the non-PC market, Japan is leading and Sony is the clear leader."

Earlier in his speech, Idei presented two new prototypes from the Tokyo-based company.

After showing its MemoryStick Walkman and Vaio MusicClip digital audio players, Idei produced an "Audio on Silicon" player - a complete digital audio player no larger than the MemoryStick memory card system the company is using in its MS Walkman.

The tiny MemoryStick includes 160MB of memory and an LSI (large scale integrated circuit) chip that processes stored music so it can be heard via a pair of headphones.

The second prototype is the InfoStick - a Bluetooth-compatible wireless adaptor. Bluetooth is the Intel-backed industry-standard wireless connection.

By plugging the device into any MemoryStick compatible product, the InfoStick will immediately give it Bluetooth compatibility. Idei said the device will ship in late 2000.