Wow. Stan Glasgow, at dinner tonight with a few journalists, told us that Sony plans to network 90% of all of their products, thousands of models, by 2010. It’s a matter of getting content on and between devices. He said that the goal was to have it happen automatically or with a click of a button.
The VAIO was mentioned as a focal point of the strategy, and by that method, Windows. But Glasgow also mentioned that there would be additional software to help them achieve this goal and differentiate themselves from other computer makers, hopefully without the bloat you see in today’s VAIOs. I have some concerns about their software expertise but they have been addressing that recently. I am more concerned about their expertise in hosting services, like Xbox Live versus the maturity of the Playstation store. Glaslow also went into slightly more detailed answers as to how their cross product connectivity is being shaped, continuing past what president Howard Stringer said about each group no longer being insulated from each other during development. He said that software development would start from the beginning of product cycles and that specific designers were in charge of setting up the UI similarities and setting up the common kernels. There were central groups that supposedly connect all the other groups. I should hope the networking efforts happen within the next generation of product because this gen’s examples are not that strong; Hancock will be, this fall, the first title available on the Bravia internet link streaming system released ahead of disc releases. But given the US$299 price tag and the bad reviews of the movie, they need to do a lot better. As far as content streaming goes, I don’t think that Sony’s internet video strategy will fly until they build this hardware into every Bravia TV. Speaking of connectivity, Glaslow also mentioned that a Sony Reader E-book with wireless connectivity was being developed. As a close, I’d asked Glaslow why there were so many Sony products and why were the names so confusing. He’d replied that he’d agreed it was an issue, but that there were many sides to the problem including tracking a specific model through design to manufacturing, when they had so many SKUs. And that it was possible to do different internal and external names, but the problem with iconic names is that submodels get lost in the shuffle. I thought to myself, I guess they should probably not release so many models because we find it pretty confusing when shopping Sony.