TrasnferJet...short-range, ultra high speed wireless connectivity is technically sound, but market opportunity is elusive. I experienced it first hand with UWB. My company tried to promote UWB product back in 2005, but everywhere I go, their first question was "so how far you can go with your UWB"? When way said it is good up to 3ft, they said why don't just use cheap and reliable cable. We provided hundreds of reason why wireless is better than wire, but never successfully capture the customers interest.
Situation may have changed since then, but I still think short-range wireless will have tough time to penetrate the market.
"Despite a glorious history and myriad innovations that wowed the world, ..."
Hmmm. This strikes me much like the article about whether Apple is no longer "cool." It's almost like the reader is expected to already know that these companies are great innovators and cool.
What if we never believed this?
I think what happens in both instances is that there's a popular myth out there. When reality makes itself a little more obvious than it might have been previously, to some, then the company's credibility is put under the microscope. When in fact, it should have been those popular myths to be questioned beforehand.
In almost every example cited, Sony is one of many players in those product segments. Cameras, TVs, image sensors, audio, PCs, game consoles, you name it. Their products are well put together, but then again, many of the competition are too. Sony products tend to cost more, and maybe that gives them some extra credibility.
I would agree with the "innovator" label with respect to development of the CD, along with Philips, however not in most of the other categories. Their role in consumer electronics today suffers mostly from having been over-hyped in the past, IMO.
Yes, no doubt, Sony always had and still has fantastic technologies. Even more, I consider Sony as a major technological pioneer. No it is not the CD, with I consider as an innovation of Philips and Rodenstock. No, I consider Sony as a major pioneers just because of products like the Sony Vaio X505 laptop or more recent the Sony RX-100 digital camera.
But Sony left their customers out of the focus. This maybe was a consequence of their not invented here syndrom. Another point I like to mention is the Sony-Bertelsmann cooperation. I think this cooperation led to the extremely restrictive DRM rules Sony implemented. Both issues IMHO forced the decline of Sony's reputation and Sony's financial problems.
I really hope Sony regains reputation. Maybe because deep inside me lives a little nerd.
Sony needs to consider innovation and standards where possible. For example if they can innovate and continue to reduce power consumption (and make that a selling point over other large screen sized HD TV manufacturers) then Total Cost of Ownership will come into play and help them justify a slightly higher cost over Samsung, LG, etc... When I was shopping for an HD TV a few years ago, I bought a Sony and am very happy with it. There was a Sony Eco-friendly model, but it was more limited in a variety of ways.
With respect to Transfer Jet, did Sony try to establish it as a Standard, or did the bring it out as proprietary ? Sometimes that is a big difference maker.
Is Sony still alive? Can they innovate or re-capture the magic?
For the quick answer, visit a Sony retail store. You will note that is is virtually empty. The two near me are dark and disorganized. In my last trip to listen to some home theatre equipment, I noted that of the three products I was interested in, only one was actually hooked up and the rep didn't know how to use it.
I walked down the mall to the Apple store. Packed with people, and most were leaving with bags of purchases. A employee greeted me, and was able to handle all the product questions I had. The store was clean, well lit, and full up WORKING products.
It doesn't matter if Sony has the best stuff in the world. You cannot depend on BestBay or Frys to sell your stuff. If your own employees cannot make a sale, then who will?
What did Sony ever innovate or invent. Philips invented the CD, a working system was brought to Sony, only because Matsushita didn't want in. Matsushita is of course a development of PHILIPS in the 50's. Philips owned 35% of Panasonic for over 40 years! Sony repacked all Philips inventions. Walkman? Philips cassette, they already had portable cassettes, Sony made it smaller and gave it a marketing name. Same for Disc man. Trinitron, single gun CRT, Philips innovation.. Video game, the first video game was Magnavox Oddessy, Philips again. Sony is like Apple now, marketing blitz. And the video recorder, Philips had the V2000 before Beta, and before VHS. Transistor radio, guess what, REGENCY had the FIRST transistor radio, Sony copied that too, and of course cus of Bell Labs INVENTION of the transistor! Philips was also the world's largest maker of radios! Sony, all hype, all BS. Apple is the 21st century Sony.
As I mentioned before in this thread IMHO Sony innovated with trendsetting products. My favorite examples are the Sony Vaio X505 laptop and the Sony RX-100 camera. In 2003 Sony introduced its Vaio X505 laptop. The concept has been first dubbed by the Apple Air laptop and later by the Intel Ultrabook concept. Last year Sony introduced its RX-100 compact digital still camera. The concept of that camera is now being dubbed by all major camera makers. Yes, you may also use the Sony Walkman as an example. Even though the concept of a wearable compact cassette player has been invented before, the Sony Walkman TPS-L2 was the first usable product of this class of music players.
Yes, cedup said it exactly like it is.
Innovation to me has to mean that you introduce something technologically new into the market. For instance, related to the CD example, who introduced the concept of oversampling in the players, to make the low-pass filter less objectionable? Philips. Or, who introduced full-frame image sensors in cameras? Contax and perhaps Canon had these early on, years before Sony got into high end digital cameras.
Ditto for sound-cancelling headphones, sound processing such as Dolby Surround, and on and on. Simply packaging what others developed, while your competition is doing the same thing, does not qualify as innovation.
If you are a fan of the Onion Parodies and ARE NOT EASILY OFFENDED by vulgar language the google "Onion Sony Releases Stupid Piece". Again - if you are offended by gross language by all means don't watch this video. Otherwise, this is a classic Onion bit that's very funny!
Sony's issue is not about technology. It is about marketing. The company lacks market direction, marketing focus, and customer connection. It is great that they have all this technology, but I do not think there is really an end segment anymore that when customers associate a company with that technology that they associate Sony with the exception of video games. Compare that to Samsung that has a high association with Phones, Computer monitors, and Televisions, positions that Sony used to hold.
As a note, a lot of Sony's success in DSLRs is from their purchase of Konica Minolta. Their point and shoots were recognized quite well in the past, but many others have created better recognition in that market.
Sony, to me, has always been innovate. The failure to bring products to the market in recent years is just unfortunate.
The nice feature, iSweep, in Cybershot makes taking panorama picture very easy. This feature is slowly coming to other brand. Yet, Cybershot still has it the best among all.
I have mentioned in previous comments. Sony TV deliver spectacular picture that no other brand is offering. Pushing 4K is a good move. Nonetheless, opening the standard, lowering the loyalty fee and paying more attention on the price are some of the may factors to any companies, particularly to Sony, to keep in mind. If the market plan plays well, I am sure there will be high demand of TransferJet.
This would have been a more useful (less emotive) article if for every "great" sector/innovation mentioned we had market share and profit/loss. Emotion is wonderful, like "innovation". However, in all of the sectors mentioned, except camera sensors, Sony is an "also ran" and doesn't make any money!
Maybe once a year I hold a 'vinyl night' and play some favorite LP discs (I have most of them in CD versions). I play them on my Sony Biotracer turntable purchased in 1982. The mere sight of this amazing device will jangle the nerves of a vinyl addict. It goes against the grain of traditional tone arm design in having a quite massive housing centered over the pivot; this apparently ignores the traditional goal of low arm mass for agile tracking of warped records (all are warped to some degree).
In fact, the housing contains a pair of servo motors which effectively cancel the arm's mass below 10 Hz. It still gives me a kick to see this seeming lummox agilely tracking a visibly wavy record at 1.5 gm of stylus force.
For a Reality Check, the author needs to visit a Sony Store in the local mall. I have. I went to check out some home theatre speaker systems. The model I wanted was out of stock (but in the inventory, according to their computer), and of the other two possibilities, one was not functioning, the other not hooked up.
The young man who helped me didn't know much about the products. The 'manager' was watching something on a laptop computer, and oblivious to customers. The store was dark and dingy.
If Sony has world class technology, it does them no good. Apple is thriving because of their consumer presence, and the vibrant retail store network. If you haven't already, walk into an Apple store. It is unlike any retail experience you will have.
When I think of Sony's past, the first thing that comes to my mind (as a consummate consumer) is the disservice they have done to us in A/V format wars. They are the 3rd leg of the nasty triangle I like to call "Hooligan B*st*rds and their $henanigan$". The other 2 legs being the RIAA and the MPAA. It started with the cassette tapes (Sony said it will be a proprietary format and Sony also made hardware to make it recordable but then agreed to charge an excise tax for blank media). Then, Sony continued with proprietary Beta format that was also a captive market and fought tooth-and-nail against VHS. Sony also pitched the RedBook CD format as a 16-bit format but many original hardware and the actual music CDs were released in 14-bits. Next, it was the proprietary miniDisc that Sony pitched as the "perfect sound forever". Yet, since it was heavily compressed; miniDisc was anything but... Sony’s SACD provided a better sound than the CD/miniDisc formats but it was also tainted in the proprietary wars. Next in line was the Sony DAT format (which was truly a superior quality audio format) but also got tainted in proprietary issues, since it meant that near-perfect duplication of audio would have dearly hurt the wallets of the Hooligan B*st*rds. The final straw (that broke this camel's back) was the format wars between HD-DVD versus BluRay discs. This unforgiveable deed to the consumers not only left many early adopters of the HD DVD with bunch of useless players but also left them an expensive library of useless movies. I will not discuss the collusionary price fixing (of music CDs) that escalated all the way up to the US Government hearings. Without ever admitting guilt, they just got the backs of their hands slapped! Until Sony can rehabilitate itself from these predatory behaviors against the consumers, I will continue to boycott these Hooligan B*st*rds and their $henanigan$!
For the people who question whether Sony has anything cool, I think they have the best digital camera sensors. Olympus and Nikon have used Sony sensors in some of their top models.
I read photography message boards, users of other cameras sometimes lament that their manufacturer does not use Sony sensors.
Just one data point.
Do not forget the Sony BMG copy protection rootkit scandal
I have not forgotten.
Every piece of Sony consumer home electronics I have ever bought has failed.
On the other hand, my wife has a Sony NEX-7 digicam. It is a brilliant piece of mechanical and optical engineering, but has terrible firmware.