I don’t know of a company that researches and develops as many flops and failures and near hits and curiosities as SONY. There’s an old expression: The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas. Today, Samsung has dragged into public view the idea that Apple copied SONY back in 2005 in the court case about the iPhone design that Apple says Samsung stole. I don’t know how the “two wrongs make a right” defense seemed like a defense, but more to the point, Sony has led the way in media and design quietly for years taking countless mis-steps along the way. Let’s have a look at wonderful products you’ve never heard of!
It’s very difficult to stay on top of everything – remember the phenomenal BRAVIA moniker for televisions? Amazing. Then about 2 minutes later, everyone and their brother’s TV company offered 120 refresh rates and 1080P HD standard instantly sticking newly minted Bravia high-end television sets a 1970 technology. Ouch, to the tune of hundreds of millions lost. The next day, $1,400 Bravia sets couldn’t be given away for free.
Readius (actually just electronic paper)
- Flexible, B&W, plastic substrate e-reader material.
- An early-ish HD television that delivered content in a celebrated design.
- Hand-sized, ergo-minded. Sadly antique ticker-type readout.
Experia GX redesign
- A smart phone with Ericcson – FCC approval but starting in Japan.
Concept music phone 2008
- More ergo-minded design with gestures controlling function.
PCM-D1 analog/digital sound recorder
- In homage to earlier SONY designs, they split differences to appeal to audiophiles.
- Definitely a visual head-turner and “hand candy” winner!
The forgettable UMD
- Lurking terribly in dark corners before Sony’s winning BluRay triumph.
Network Walkman, E Series
- Stylish, small as USB memory sticks we’d just learned to embrace.
With the stories rolling out today about alleged thieves Samsung calling Apple thieves of Sony design, where it all starts and most of the time, ends, it just seemed like a good day for Sony design appreciation.
No company falls on its face more often or as quietly and, frankly, with very few exceptions, is as far-ahead thinking as Sony. Looks like the design area there is the place to work if you’re able to think dangerously out of the box.