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Sony's Rolly MP3 player gets funky

Sony's new Rolly dancing MP3 player joins SanDisk's Shaker and iRiver's Mickey Mouse model in the category of cute-but-gimmicky kids' music products.

It seems portable audio has been designated the quirky, kid-friendly category this year, with Sony showing off a dancing robotic MP3 player to face off in the cuteness stakes against SanDisk's Shaker and iRiver's Mickey Mouse model.

Sony's Rolly device dances to the music housed in its belly while its sides light up in technicolour glory. The player even ships with dance routine software that allows you to choreograph custom movement sequences.

Roly in the wild (left) and in the hand (right)

The football-shaped device has pretty ordinary specs: 2GB of storage space and support for MP3 and non-protected AAC formats. A plus, though, is the now increasingly common Bluetooth streaming support, which means Rolly need not trip over his own unbearably cute feet when executing a disco spin.

SanDisk Shaker

Rolly is joined at CES by SanDisk's Shaker, another kid-focused MP3 player that resembles a squashed can of soft drink. As you'd expect from the name, tracks are skipped by shaking the device -- similar to the gimmickry employed in Sony Ericsson's W910i Walkman phone.

The Shaker operates on a AAA battery and is available in 512MB and 1GB capacities. A speaker allows kids to annoy everyone in their household with incessant repetitions of songs from High School Musical.

Sony's Rolly hits the US in March, but there's currently no solid date for an Australian release. The Shaker, however, can now be picked up locally for AU$59.95 for the 512MB version and AU$79.95 for the 1GB model.