The software thing is more related to their culture. They are only interested in developing hardware in Japan and almost ignored the software stuff under most circumstances
That's why a fairly large number of consumer electronics companies in Japan are struggling as mentioned in the article above. They seemed to be contented with what's going on and I really don't see where will be any changes in the future.
Let's face it, the only game in town is either iOS or Android when it comes to multi-touch devices with relatively decent hardware spec. Even giants in Korea such as Samsung and LG have to go for Android instead of relying on their own programmers.
In addition, we really don't see that many non-Asian audiophile players except for Tera-Player / The Open Pandora on this particular forum these days. Acoustic Research M1 should be closer to a Chinese effort even though that's a subsidiary of VOXX International Corp.
Just not enough incentives for decent OS / firmware so basically Android and Rockbox are the ideal interfaces for now, at least from the perspective of manufacturers in Asia.
iRiver (Astell & Kern) is Korean, not Japanese. What does the AK100 and its software have to do with Japan?