Backstage: Sony’s music confusion officially tiresome
I’ve been busy with other things, but Sony can always catch my attention by firing its key executives, seriously demoting PlayStation and PlayStation Portable “father” Ken Kutaragi, or announcing yet more supposed iPod competitors. The first two are rare enough, but it seems like three months can’t pass these days without a couple of new iPod missives from Sony.
So at this point, rather than just saying “Sony, STFU already, you don’t get it,” some helpful pointers might be in order. If you’re an analyst, investor, or Sony product planner, you might want to consider these few concepts before you suspect Apple will have anything to worry about from any product with the Walkman name.
Didn’t You Hear? Price Matters. When the market leader is selling a 512MB device for $99, a fourth- or fifth-placed player can’t enter the market with a $140 512MB player (the NW-E105) and expect people to care unless the new product is dramatically better.
“Better?” What’s That? Let’s see - the NW-E105 specs say you need to supply your own batteries, carry a USB cable if you want to plug it in to a computer, and - oh wait - there’s no FM tuner, and you need to use Sony’s software. I won’t even get into the whole “no one wants Sony’s music downloads” issue. Not only isn’t this thing better than the iPod shuffle in any really important way (don’t even quote that BS battery life number) - it’s actually worse. And for the record, I’m not a big fan of the shuffle. But I know why it sells so well. Do you?
What About The Cool One With The OLED Screen (NW-E405)? Yeah, iPod killer number four hundred and five is indeed cool. And it’s also $170 at today’s exchange rates for a 512MB version. Apple makes an iPod for about the same price - you might have heard about it; it’s called the iPod mini. And its screen has more than 3 useless lines. The day I spend $170 for a 512MB Sony MP3 player is the day it’s a PlayStation Portable with a memory card, and doesn’t just play MP3s.
Are any of you guys and gals tired of hearing about these ersatz iPod competitors yet? Should we keep posting the news stories just so you can vent on them, or skip the “new competitor” stuff altogether unless something really important happens?
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Apple Music coming to Sonos Dec. 15 through public beta program
- Apple to drop headphone jack from next iPhone?
- Amazon Instant Video app could hit Apple TV ‘within a few weeks’
- Some Apple Music and iTunes Match services may be illegal in the U.K.
- Australian banks accused of anti-competitive behavior over Apple Pay lockout
- Happy Thanksgiving 2015 from iLounge!
- Apple reaches deal with UnionPay to bring Apple Pay to China
- DisneyLife subscription-based app launches in the U.K.
- Apple buys motion capture company Faceshift
- Apple CarPlay included in 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage
- Urban Armor Gear Composite Case for iPad Pro
- Parrot Hydrofoil Drone
- Apple Pencil for iPad Pro
- IK Multimedia iRig Pro DUO
- CableJive HeroDock
- Phiaton BT 330 NC Headphones
- Ecoxgear EcoPebble Powerbank + Speaker
- Lunatik Taktik 360 for iPhone 6/6s
- Belkin Charge Dock for Apple Watch + iPhone
- SwitchEasy Aero, N+, Nude, Play for iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 12.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.4 + Apple Music
- CE Week 2015: IK Multimedia, Monowear’s Apple Watch bands + More
- Live From CE Week 2015: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!
- Opinion: The ‘Grand Experiment’ of shifting to Google Photos
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?