Sunday, February 06, 2005

Thanks for nothing Sony

Is Sony planning to dump products that failed in more advanced markets in India? Looks like they are, from the full page ads in magazines and huge billboards that I’ve seen in Bangalore (and most definitely in other cities too) advertising their Network Walkman. The thing is, the gizmo they’re advertising is based on technology rejected by bigger markets. The player they are mainly advertising, the NW-MS90D plays only songs encoded in their proprietary ATRAC3plus format. It does not play MP3, let alone WMA or OGG. So, I guess some software is provided to convert all our music to ATRAC3plus. Nowhere in the ad is this specified. Quite not as easy as “Connect, transfer & play” that Sony claims. It was only late last year that Sony began supporting MP3 playback on their players (walkmans?, walkmen?). Still, we privileged Indians get to buy the result of a mistake that Sony has accepted they’ve made in other markets. Engadget has chewed on Sony’s format support dilemma for quite some time now. 

And what about the cost of these players? The most expensive one, with a capacity of 512 MB costs Rs 30,000, and the cheapest player with 128 MB memory costs Rs 14,000. No wonder nobody buys such devices in India. My Iriver player with 20 GB memory and a host of other features, costs less than Sony’s cheapest offering in India (OK, I had to slip that in). The issue of bad marketing decisions and their futility has been raised before too.

Surprisingly, the lower end models have MP3 playback support. I hope this kind of ‘maybe we can get away with it’ attitude of manufacturers never pays off. If someone can afford to pay many thousands to buy these players, they must also have access to the net, and one Google search is all it takes to expose such ‘unique’ products. Of course, everybody makes their own decisions as to what they want to buy, but, lack of information should never play a role in those decisions.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

good one thejo... but just let it be, after all, "It's a Sony" , right?

-Swaroop

2/07/2005 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Lakshminarayanan said...

Ya man, who the hell cares. Anyway its all cheap here. never buy big stuff in India, get 'em frm US. Always cheaper. Of course, with the rebates and the offers, makes it even better.

2/08/2005 04:04:00 AM  
Blogger Thejo said...

It's not only the cost. We should care when all we get to buy is old stuff that has failed elsewhere, and for a reason that is valid here too. Costs are bound to come down eventually, but if we still get to buy inferior products forever, what's the point? But, I'm sure that won't be the case. When nobody buys such stuff, they'll learn.

2/08/2005 08:31:00 AM  

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