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An open letter to Sony

post #1 of 96
Thread Starter 

It's a snowy day and I'm stuck at home, fueled on tea and a desire to speak my peace to Sony's electronics division.  Here is the product that confluence of events...

 


 

Dear Sony,

 
I have been a loyal customer of yours for the majority of my life.  One of my fondest memories involved me working the better part of an adolescent summer break in order to purchase a Sony Cassette Walkman and a pair of "upgraded" Sony headphones.
 
Throughout the years I have kept tabs on the advancements within your portable electronics line.  In my opinion, the pinnacle of performance was the NWZ-X1050/X1060 Series portable music player.  However, I regret saying that my youthful enjoyment of your product line is starting to wane with your recent retirement of that series without a suitable replacement in the U.S. market.
 
You introduced the A840 and A850 series well over a year ago overseas and have yet to bring that device to the United States.  The reviews on that series are well regarded for their sound quality and form factor within the audiophile community.  
 
I've always regarded Sony as a pioneer of new technology and refiner of current technology.  Your implementation of noise canceling in the X-Series and A-Series was a smart decision.  Your controls and UI lately have been regarded as one of the best in the industry - easy to navigate and to the point without lacking the necessary features of a portable media device.  Your recent decision to include 64GB of on board memory in one of your A-Series models was brilliant!  Features like these put you in a class with the likes of Apple - which is a good place to be in today's market.
 
Here's where you've fallen short of the mark lately.  As of today, the X-Series is sold on your website as a second-rate Refurbished device, making it effectively discontinued.  It is only followed up with the S-Series and E-Series (The W-Series is not even worth mentioning).  Once you sell through your stock of rehashed X-Series devices your U.S. consumers will be left with two choices, and between the two a maximum of 16GB of storage.  16GB!  Come on Sony.  There is a huge community of music lovers that demand 64GB of storage, but you have left an entire continent without the opportunity to purchase such a device from you.
 
Please don't fall into the trap of focusing all of your R&D and marketing efforts on: cellular phones, tablets and mids.  There is still enormous demand in the music community for a "high-end" portable music player without all of the bells and whistles of the devices mentioned earlier.  Here is my rationale, battery technology has not caught up with the current pace of technology and for that reason a cell phone cannot offer enough talk/listening time to cover a full day's use.  Often there are also compromises in form factor or sound quality into order to cram all of the required features of a music device into a phone.  Tablets and mids have their rightful place in the consumer electronics market, but will never replace the smaller portable music player due to their size requirements, which are obviously much larger.  For the record I am an Android phone user, a netbook owner and I also have the desire to purchase a tablet - but likely in the next 6-12 months when they get through their current growing pains.
 
In closing, a brilliant portable device would be as follows: 64GB of on board memory, the ability for external storage (please adopt the SD standard), your amazing sound quality (S-Master or something similar), noise canceling, a straight forward UI, micro-USB charge/sync connection, additional support for FLAC, and increased video CODEC support (most notably XviD/AVI).  Notice I didn't mention a price point or desire for a touch screen.  I don't care much about which tactile interface you adopt, as sound quality, storage capacity and certain minimum features are of the utmost importance to me.  I also understand that such a device would come at a cost and although your retail prices are at a premium in the market I have not found the to be unreasonable.
 
For more information on what the global audiophile community desires in a portable music player please pass along the following web forum to your marketing and/or research departments: www.head-fi.org
 
I want to remain a loyal Sony consumer, but companies like Cowon, Samsung, Creative, Archos and the like are bringing much more exciting products to the market lately.  I hope that future changes in your product line will bring me back into your camp.
 
Regretfully Yours,
Phil

Edited by SoulSyde - 1/18/11 at 4:00pm
post #2 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulSyde View Post

It's a snowy day and I'm stuck at home, fueled on tea and a desire to speak my peace to Sony's electronics division.  Here's the product that confluence of events...

*snip for bandwidth's sake*
I want to remain a loyal Sony consumer, but companies like Cowon, Samsung, Creative, Archos and the like are bringing much more exciting products to the market lately.  I hope that future changes in your product line will bring me back into your camp.
 
Regretfully Yours,
Phil


Creative more exciting than Sony? Ouch! That deserves an

 

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post #3 of 96

You'll surely have to let us know if they ever bother with a non auto generated response.  Sony may end up making a 64GB DAP at some point, but it might cost 600 to buy it!!  doh!

post #4 of 96
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nonsupremous View Post

You'll surely have to let us know if they ever bother with a non auto generated response.  Sony may end up making a 64GB DAP at some point, but it might cost 600 to buy it!!  doh!



They do... it's called the NWZ-A847.  It's just not available in the West.

post #5 of 96
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achmedisdead View Post

Creative more exciting than Sony? Ouch! That deserves an [Oh Snap].

 



I agree, but I do believe it to be true.  Although Creative refuses to let go of their grip on the resistive touch screen idea, I think they are doing so pretty cool stuff with the new Zen X-Fi2 (which is available in 64GB capacity in the West, their use of the SD standard, a neat landscape UI and FLAC support) as well as the Zen Touch 2 (which is their first implementation of the Android OS).  Creative will never hold a candle to Sony's excellent sound quality (IMHO), but they're certainly more cutting-edge today.

post #6 of 96

deleted


Edited by satir - 1/21/11 at 4:00pm
post #7 of 96


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulSyde View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by nonsupremous View Post

You'll surely have to let us know if they ever bother with a non auto generated response.  Sony may end up making a 64GB DAP at some point, but it might cost 600 to buy it!!  doh!



They do... it's called the NWZ-A847.  It's just not available in the West.


erm yes it is, AMP3 has it http://www.advancedmp3players.co.uk/shop/MP3_Players.1/Sony.76/NWZ-A847B.CEW/Sony_NWZ-A847_64GB_WALKMAN_MP3_Player.4667.html

 

i do believe they are quite happy to ship stuff to the US too

post #8 of 96
Thread Starter 

Thanks Mark.  Exportprive also exports to the U.S., but the problem is that Sony America won't honor any of the warranty claims since it's considered "grey market."

post #9 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2410 View Post

erm yes it is, AMP3 has it http://www.advancedmp3players.co.uk/shop/MP3_Players.1/Sony.76/NWZ-A847B.CEW/Sony_NWZ-A847_64GB_WALKMAN_MP3_Player.4667.html

 

i do believe they are quite happy to ship stuff to the US too


Yes, they do ship to the US, but those models are volume capped, and I can't see anyone wanting a volume-cRapped anything.

post #10 of 96
Thread Starter 

^ Good point.  I was not aware of that.

post #11 of 96

Are the menus in English or Japanese?

BH website has disco'd almost the entire line of Walkman right now.  So something must be abound. You can almost bet though that a 64GB will not be a part of the lineup.  It just seems Sony reserves those players for the Japanese and certain European markets only.  Hell, even a 32 GB S series would be nice.  I currently use 3 different Walkman and they all have specific genre's on them.  It's a real pain in the tail though! 

post #12 of 96

The menus are English, as it's a EU release,...

post #13 of 96

Gotcha.  So the only real issue for most in the US is getting past that volume cap.  Well, hopefully they will be releasing a solid new product line pretty quickly.

post #14 of 96


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by satir View Post

I'm giving Sony one more chance. I bought their Malaysian assembled XA5400ES based on reviews even before I heard the unit. My previous Sony ES player stopped playing SACD's right out of warranty and the repair price quoted me was to onerous to follow through so I sold unit on ebay to a DIY'er for parts. I am old enough to remember the UNREAL reliabilty and longevity of the old Trinitron line. Like they say, 'those days are gone.'


 

And that is why Sony is no longer relevant.

 

 

Lack of ability to grasp software, and lack of the ability to treat the consumer with some degree of respect, doomed Sony from the late 90's onwards. Since the early 2000's they've also started to lose the lead in hardware as well, to the extent that it's a rare thing nowadays when Sony hardware is truly unique or compelling. Time was for example when every higher-end model in their VAIO range would interest me. Now I only have one, and I have zero interest in anything else they make... and it's been that way for almost three years now.

 

 

Sad, but I don't see them changing radically anytime soon. They still have a small edge in hardware, but I see Samsung et al fully catching up in the next few years... especially as the product development has a similar mentality, but the Korean makers are more '90's Japanese' than the Japanese are right now. Once the Chinese makers ascend beyond knock-off status (once again in a few years), they're toast.

 

 

iRiver have their ups and downs, but I for one am far more interested in their approach to product engineering and design these days, and it's amazing to see how far they've come from the Toilet Seat Lid that was the iMP-400. Samsung makes totally solid kit without some of the dumb aspects of some Sony stuff, and Cowon, while you could disparage them for their feature-orientated user-as-Alpha-tester approach, there's no denying that they're far more interesting once again than anything Sony can cook up these days.

post #15 of 96

Sony, sadly to me, is D.O.A. frown.gif My S639 is the final purchase from their DAP devision,...unless they finally go w/what Soulsyde has asked for in his letter.

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