How does it work out there (in Japan) Anak, have they always done this pre release demo models (beta so to speak) to listen to in Japan as I do not know anywhere else where manufacturers let you see the physical model unless of course it's at something like the CES show of course.
Is a reason it is done for Sony to gauge last minute feedback from potential customers so they can tweak it before release (still maybe enough time to change programming specs before production ramps up on the line) or simply to drum up interest in it purely from a sales perspective.
Which ever it may be I wish they exercised this method to us poor Europeans!
It depends. Sony has a showroom (and store, but more showroom than store until you hit the upper levels) and they sometimes showcase things either early or whatever. I remember them doing it for the Z10xx before it was released. The Sony building which has the showcase is unlike any other Sony "store" in the world that I've been to (and I've been to them all over the US, Australia, and parts of Europe). If you ever get to Tokyo, it's worth a visit.