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Sony boss rues losing to iPod, on guard against iPhone

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
In a rare candid interview, Sony's chief executive expresses regret over his company's blown opportunity to one-up the iPod years in advance -- and vowed not to repeat the same mistakes with the appearance of the iPhone.

The frontman for the Japanese electronics behemoth's, Sir Howard Stringer, admitted in a yet-to-be-broadcast TV appearance that his corporation's stubbornness in its design philosophy likely cost it a head start in digital music.

Speaking to CEO Exchange, Stringer noted that upon his taking the helm in 2005, virtually every branch of Sony's empire was a "silo" -- sheltered from one another and interested only in how one of its products trumped another.

"All the divisions were in their own little worlds," he said.

The fenced-off approach ultimately doomed Sony to squandering its one and best chance at capturing the fledgling digital music player business, according to the executive. Protectionism by the company's music label (now Sony BMG) virtually guaranteed that engineers working on what would become the Network Walkman were blocked at every turn from creating the jukebox they wanted.

Such a delay is an especially sore point for Stringer: just as he took hold of the American division in 1997, he was forced to watch as the company froze its digital media efforts and shut itself out from a market that would later be dominated by Apple.

"We were working with IBM on electronic music distribution and could have put this out five years earlier [than the iPod]," he complained. "But we couldn't get our people to understand software. And we are a music company. They saw digital media, panicked and didn't like it."

The result created Sony's ill-fated ATRAC format, which was used by the electronics maker's Connect music store and which for years was the only choice for storing songs on its Walkman players. The company only reluctantly changed course and allowed for MP3 (and later, AAC) tracks once Apple had already taken control of the industry.

In his interview, however, Stringer was adamant that the fate of the Sony-Ericsson cellphone partnership would be different in the battle against the iPhone. Instead of stonewalling, the Japanese-Swedish partnership has already warmed up to the concept of music on phones and has seen the benefits through outstanding sales, especially in Europe. Apple, the Sony leader said, has only "spotted a trend" that Sony-Ericsson identified years before.

Regardless, the chief was careful not to exhibit the same hubris that left Sony holding merely a fraction of what was once a commanding lead in music. To him, ruling out Apple's determination under its current leadership would be a potentially fatal mistake.

"I would never sit up here and say I'm not worried about Steve Jobs," Stringer cautioned. "I wouldn't bet against Steve."
post #2 of 47
Here in Ireland, Sony Ericsson's range of Walkman phones are already putting a serious dent in iPod sales. Especially with the iPhone not supporting 3G until 2008, as well as not having a very good camera, at least in this market I see Apple struggling to compete with Sony as far as the iPhone is concerned.

Apple will have a tough time in Europe if they don't get it right the first time. They're already late to the party.
post #3 of 47
It's nice to see that at the very least Stringer has some realistic concerns where Apple, Steve, and the iPhone are concerned and isn't trying to act like they have a superior product already out as Ballmer did with Windows mobile devices. Good grief.
post #4 of 47
Just another instance of where a walled garden (Mini Disk + ATRAC) approach ended badly. Apple should heed this warning with the iPhone and make an SDK for it freely avliable on DAY ONE. If they make it difficult to near impossible for people to make apps for it, then they are pissing away a real opportunity. In short, they are late to the dance, and they can’t afford to be picky.
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post #5 of 47
Sony Ericsson makes very nice phones. If anyone can beat the iPhone in terms of hardware, i'd say it's Sony. The thing that, even after all this time, no one seems to be able to do is even apporach the quality of Apple's software for these devices.

I've seen so many beautifully designed MP3 players and phones that look amazing on the outside, and yet you start using the device and the interface is horribe. I think it's pretty well understood that it's the combination of good software and good hardware that made the iPod a success, so why has no one been able to pull off anything good in the software area?

I think the standards have been set so low that it's going to take a while for everyone to get off their butts and start making something genuinely good.
post #6 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacillus View Post

Just another instance of where a walled garden (Mini Disk + ATRAC) approach ended badly. Apple should heed this warning with the iPhone and make an SDK for it freely avliable on DAY ONE. If they make it difficult to near impossible for people to make apps for it, then they are pissing away a real opportunity. In short, they are late to the dance, and they cant afford to be picky.

I agree. Much of the allure of a smartphone comes from the ability to add third party software. Even though the iPhone's included software looks very nice, they don't have an app for everything, and to cripple such a powerful phone from using its full potential is disappointing. I really hope they change their minds.
post #7 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zweben View Post

Sony Ericsson makes very nice phones. If anyone can beat the iPhone in terms of hardware, i'd say it's Sony. The thing that, even after all this time, no one seems to be able to do is even apporach the quality of Apple's software for these devices.

I've seen so many beautifully designed MP3 players and phones that look amazing on the outside, and yet you start using the device and the interface is horribe. I think it's pretty well understood that it's the combination of good software and good hardware that made the iPod a success, so why has no one been able to pull off anything good in the software area?

I think the standards have been set so low that it's going to take a while for everyone to get off their butts and start making something genuinely good.

That's the thing about Sony. They have absolutely nailed a certain type of design that looks appealingly purposeful and grown-up and has a "machined out of a single block of titanium" vibe.

But then you go to use it and you realize that all those solid looking buttons are hard to navigate, and the software seems madly complex, and that it does things that you would never want it to do and doesn't do things that you do.
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post #8 of 47
Quote:
In his interview, however, Stringer was adamant that the fate of the Sony-Ericsson cellphone partnership would be different in the battle against the iPhone. Instead of stonewalling, the Japanese-Swedish partnership has already warmed up to the concept of music on phones and has seen the benefits through outstanding sales, especially in Europe. Apple, the Sony leader said, has only "spotted a trend" that Sony-Ericsson identified years before.

Yes and no, Sir Howard. It's more likely Apple saw a threat to the iPod in terms of multifunction devices (i.e. music cellphones) before music cellphones ever started becoming fashionable (which is pretty recently) and decided to make one in order to cover both sides of the portable music market. Tech pundits have been predicting the onslaught of music cellphones against the iPod for a long time now... wasn't exactly a secret to anyone.

Apple's likely been thinking of taking this market since before the ROKR began development in 2004. The first Walkman cellphone was announced in 2005. Sony has little, if any, claim to being more visionary here than Apple. Apple just spent time learning the market with the ROKR experience, that's all, which enabled them to develop the far-superior iPhone.

Now all they have to do is give us a 3G version.

.
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post #9 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zweben View Post

I've seen so many beautifully designed MP3 players and phones that look amazing on the outside, and yet you start using the device and the interface is horrible. I think it's pretty well understood that it's the combination of good software and good hardware that made the iPod a success, so why has no one been able to pull off anything good in the software area?

I think its the fault of a 'design by committee' mentality more than anything. Few companies have the equivalent of Apple's structure, where Steve Jobs (who has good instincts when it comes to physical design and UIs) just rolls on into the meeting and hollars, "That SUCKS! FIX IT!"... and then they do. 8)

Nearly everywhere else, you have to keep everyone happy. The result is 'groupthink' mediocre products.

.
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post #10 of 47
I've got a Sony phone and its good enough. As others have said, its not perfect - it provides way too many options in often illogical ways, all orientated around one standard menu style. I think thats where the iPhone can shine - it has a large enough screen to offer interesting and memorably different interfaces to each area of the device making it easier to use.

As with any company like sony, making their Nth phone, its easy to get stuck with what you've done before, whereas Apple have nothing to base their preconceptions on (except the competition).
post #11 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Hood View Post

Here in Ireland, Sony Ericsson's range of Walkman phones are already putting a serious dent in iPod sales. Especially with the iPhone not supporting 3G until 2008, as well as not having a very good camera, at least in this market I see Apple struggling to compete with Sony as far as the iPhone is concerned.

Apple will have a tough time in Europe if they don't get it right the first time. They're already late to the party.

How do you know SE phones are doing that? I have both - the phone isn't even close to being a substitute for the iPod. You can't plug decent headphones into it without a 3rd party adapter - the supplied ones are a joke for music and the battery and storage capacities are too low.

Everyone seems to forget how good Steve jobs and Apple are at surprises. The iPhone was a huge surprise - even when there were innumerable rumors about it prior to its officail unveiling, it still managed to be way ahead of most peoples expectations.

I think when it goes on sale there will be more surprises - like the camera might have been upgraded and perhaps it will have 3G or the European release models will. After all, the EU ought to be the more important market given there about 161m more people than in the US.

In short, I don't think the phone we saw will necessarily be the same as the one we get.
post #12 of 47
let's just hope that this first iPhone will be replaced by an UMTS, 3.2 MP back and 1 MP front camera iPhone II _before_ it hits Europe. else they'll have to sell it for less than half the price with a _one_ year contract if they want to sell any.
post #13 of 47
Hey Robin Hood: Got a link showing how SE phones are putting a 'serious dent' in iPod sales? No? What, you mean you made it up? And when it comes out, we'll see about Apple's 2MP camera quality. Having seen the results of some 3+MP cameras (in Japan anyway), I'm not that impressed - nowhere near the quality of an old Canon 2MP point-and-shoot of mine. There's more than mega-pixels involved in pic quality and it's not like Apple don't have experience in putting out cameras.

Bacillus and Zweben: No-one said there would never be 3rd party support, just not right out of the gate. I mean - I dunno, I wasn't around when the first Symbian phones were released but was there immediate SDK availability then? Anyone know? It's rumoured that Apple will release SDKs but will also enforce quality control. That sounds more like it to me.
post #14 of 47
Ah, yes. The patented multi-touch iPhone is just "spotting a trend" years late, while Sony was on the ball all along.

So... why doesn't Sony have something like the iPhone about to come out?

(And yes, the specs of the iPhone will continue to grow. Any buzzword or number you don't see now--like 3G--you will see later as costs fall and as the iPhone enters new markets. Remember the original iPod? Look how it advanced in features-per-dollar. But you have to start somewhere, and with the iPhone, Apple's starting with something no other company can touch--unless portability and ease-of-use don't matter of course... but as the iPod shows, they do )
post #15 of 47
I actually have gained back some of my lost respect for Sony.
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post #16 of 47
Also - anyone who thinks they won't offer 3G in appropriate markets wasn't listening when Jobs said 3G support was coming. Approriate markets means - at this stage - Europe and Asia not the U.S. so all you Euros need to put away your "If they don't include 3G it'll fail blah blah" statements.
post #17 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I actually have gained back some of my lost respect for Sony.

It has taken some time, but it does seem like they are turning the ship around.
post #18 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by the cool gut View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I actually have gained back some of my lost respect for Sony.

It has taken some time, but it does seem like they are turning the ship around.

Ditto

The other day I was drooling over their Laptops....

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post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In his interview, however, Stringer was adamant that the fate of the Sony-Ericsson cellphone partnership would be different in the battle against the iPhone.

Ya right! Sony makes great products - I do like their product design and quality. However, just like most other companies in the high tech industry, Sony just can't get it right when it comes to UI, that's what set's the iPhone apart. Matter of fact, the reason for the iPod's success is it's UI.
post #20 of 47
As a lot of other posters observed, Sony makes great hardware but can't distinguish shit from software. I don't know if it is possible for any organization to overnight acquire the sort of institutional knowledge needed to write great software. [I mean MS has been working at it for decades now and they also can't distinguish shit from software.] That's why it's probably too late for Sony now.

Apple has figured out, perhaps by accident, that the way to significantly reduce consumer electronics complexity is to manage all your content and devices on a single, user-friendly software interface. And iTunes is already way ahead in this game with an installed base in the tens of millions. I can't see how Sony or Microsoft can catch up with their own content and device management interfaces. If I'm already using iTunes to manage my iPod and my content why would I want to open up a separate interface to manage my streaming video? Or my cell phone? or my (name your future Apple device)?

Sony & MS are trying to promote their game consoles as a home-entertainment hub. Oh yeah, like the rest of us non-gamers are just raring to spend the time to figure out those game pads. Not to mention the $400 to $600 for a game console that will never ever play a single game as long as we own it.
post #21 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Hood View Post

Here in Ireland, Sony Ericsson's range of Walkman phones are already putting a serious dent in iPod sales. Especially with the iPhone not supporting 3G until 2008, as well as not having a very good camera, at least in this market I see Apple struggling to compete with Sony as far as the iPhone is concerned.

Apple will have a tough time in Europe if they don't get it right the first time. They're already late to the party.

I didn't know that the Sony Ericsson Walkman phones had multi-touch, a real web browser with smart magnification, that they had visual voicemail, that they had 3.5" screens and multiple programmable key mapping, that they run GoogleMaps and have CoverFlow, an iPhoto-like app running on OSX AND iTunes!?!?!? Gosh Apple is so late to that program!!

Sure those phones might be popular now, but I'm tired of people being so blind to what the innovations of the iPhone are that they can't even compare devices intelligently.

The key will be that media in all of those iPods and future AppleTV's and online will be also syched to the iPhone. iTunes and the GUI are the thing that makes Sony worried. Until Sony can make their own OS and music store and not have to work with and fight MS (see Zune) at the same time - they are at a disadvantage for real innovation.
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post #22 of 47
I'm not defending Apple for the sake of it here, I genuinely disagree with everything you just said.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Hood

Here in Ireland, Sony Ericsson's range of Walkman phones are already putting a serious dent in iPod sales.

I wouldn't rate is as "serious" myself yet, not even close.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Hood

Especially with the iPhone not supporting 3G until 2008.

Who told you that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Hood

As well as not having a very good camera.

Did you use the camera? Megapixel myth. Camera could be better than most 3Mp for all you know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Hood

At least in this market I see Apple struggling to compete with Sony as far as the iPhone is concerned.

No, and iPhone junior.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Hood

Apple will have a tough time in Europe if they don't get it right the first time. They're already late to the party.

Motorola phones make me feel nauseous, their build quality, software functionality and UI are absolutely terrible, yet they sell. The iPhone will sell and so will its little brother when it comes. Apple might be technically be late to the market when it comes to phones, but the iPod laid the ground work just enough, Apple's brand is strong as houses now, so in a sense that's perfect timing. I know people who want to be rescued from the disaster that is today's phones, maybe Apple might just be that company to rescue them. Don't forget, when Jobs demonstrated the iPhone he contrasted it to Smartphones - he'll demo a slimmed down iPhone too a some point and contrast it to regular phones (possibly in 2007).
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post #23 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by the cool gut View Post

It has taken some time, but it does seem like they are turning the ship around.

Where is the evidence for that?

From Day 1, Howard Stringer has seemed like a really nice guy with feet firmly on the ground. This is now more than two years later, and it is not at all clear that he has made the slightest dent in that misbegotten company's corporate culture.

And, Sony-Ericsson preceded his arrival, so it's not like he had much, if anything at all, to do with their successes.
post #24 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacillus View Post

Apple should heed this warning with the iPhone and make an SDK for it freely avliable on DAY ONE.

Definitely! At bare minimum put a default preference in there along the lines of 'allow only Apple applications to run'. Normal users will never see or care about it. Power users will and take advantage of it and be able to run 3rd party apps.

It's not a question of if or when we'll be able to run 3rd party apps on it no matter how hard Apple tries to lock them out. The only thing they'll accomplish by doing so is to definitively lock out any chance of business users that need some type of custom app and won't be willing to go the unsupported route. By not releasing an SDK by now, they've already made a really stupid move that will set back the chance of having any cool apps when the iPhone is launched.
post #25 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by modz View Post

Hey Robin Hood: Got a link showing how SE phones are putting a 'serious dent' in iPod sales? No? What, you mean you made it up? And when it comes out, we'll see about Apple's 2MP camera quality. Having seen the results of some 3+MP cameras (in Japan anyway), I'm not that impressed - nowhere near the quality of an old Canon 2MP point-and-shoot of mine. There's more than mega-pixels involved in pic quality and it's not like Apple don't have experience in putting out cameras.

Let's just say that while I have a significant number of friends and contacts with iPod's, others have gone for Sony Ericsson phones instead, and use these instead of buying a separate iPod. I've seen this repeated amongst their friends again, and also if you read any Irish discussion forums relating to phones and gadgets over any period of time you'll see that a significant minority of customers are not buying an iPod, instead opting for a Sony Ericsson phone.

I can't help but think this must be causing a serious dent in iPod sales here currently. Nevertheless, it's just a dent at this stage, but Apple needs to not make any mistakes if they don't want it to become a problem.

Also, I can literally pick up a Sony Ericsson phone with "Walkman" capabilities for almost free on a 12-month contract, or from about 100 euros on prepay, with almost the same amount of call credit already included, so basically I'm getting the phone for free! And many of these phones have 3G and video call (think iChat AV) capability).

That being said, I still think the iPhone is a great product. If Apple can successfully add 3G technology, and some time during 2008 a more affordable version, they're a force to be reckoned with. I'm just saying they won't have it easy is all.

Finally about the camera, do you seriously think it can compete with say the camera in even the old (by now) Sony Ericsson K800i? Even if it's good for a 2 megapixel cameras, and I'm quite aware of the megapixel myth (I own an old Epson 2 megapixel camera that blows away a lot of cheap 7 megapixel cameras).
post #26 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Hood View Post

Let's just say that while I have a significant number of friends and contacts with iPod's, others have gone for Sony Ericsson phones instead, and use these instead of buying a separate iPod. I've seen this repeated amongst their friends again, and also if you read any Irish discussion forums relating to phones and gadgets over any period of time you'll see that a significant minority of customers are not buying an iPod, instead opting for a Sony Ericsson phone.


The best feature of my SE K610i is the fact that it syncs with iSync and I have all my contacts the same on my computer and phone. Oh. Hang on - iSync. That's Apple's software....

The other great thing about it is Opera Mini. Oh. Hang on. Opera - that's not Sony or Ericsson software either.

Hmmm.

Nope, at the moment mobiles are a commodity, even more so than PCs. I think the iPhone will change all that.
post #27 of 47
Here are some numbers for you:
In Sweden (9 mill inhabitants) there were sold 563,000 mp3 players in Q4 2006. Of those only 33,000 (-38%) were hard drive based, the segment dominated by Apple. Flash based players amounted to 530,000 (+78%). Largest vendor Creative, ahead of Sandisk and Apple. In the same quarter were sold 787,000 music mobiles (+57%), a market dominated by Sony Ericsson. Source: http://www.itresearch.se
post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

As a lot of other posters observed, Sony makes great hardware but can't distinguish shit from software. I don't know if it is possible for any organization to overnight acquire the sort of institutional knowledge needed to write great software. [I mean MS has been working at it for decades now and they also can't distinguish shit from software.] That's why it's probably too late for Sony now.

No, I disagree, with the right leadership, Sony can still sort their shit out and develop some decent software. No argument their software for the most part is complete bollocks (I own 2 vaios, and a whole raft of other sony stuff). The direction Stringer is taking them shows at least some promise, they have to hurry though, and as for Apples iPhone, good luck for the first gen, I'm not sold on it... No 3g for a start...
post #29 of 47
So your evidence is anecdotal - you and your buddies and some forums. OK let's try that:

"While I have a significant number of friends and contacts with music-capable cellphones, others are not yet upgrading and are waiting on the iPhone. I ve seen this repeated amongst their friends again, and also if you read ANY discussion forums relating to phones and gadgets over any period of time you'll see that a significant number of current cellphone users are not buying a new cellphone, instead opting to wait for an iPhone."

Easy huh?

Just be aware that complaints about the iPhone's mooted price may be valid if it doesn't sell, but I have a feeling they'll sell as many of the 1G models as they can make because it's really not about a long feature list - but usability, ease of use and sexyness. And no-one, not Sony not Nokia not Samsung and certainly not Motorola can even demo a current or upcoming model that can match what we all saw in the iPhone demo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Hood View Post

Let's just say that while I have a significant number of friends and contacts with iPod's, others have gone for Sony Ericsson phones instead, and use these instead of buying a separate iPod. I've seen this repeated amongst their friends again, and also if you read any Irish discussion forums relating to phones and gadgets over any period of time you'll see that a significant minority of customers are not buying an iPod, instead opting for a Sony Ericsson phone.

I can't help but think this must be causing a serious dent in iPod sales here currently. Nevertheless, it's just a dent at this stage, but Apple needs to not make any mistakes if they don't want it to become a problem.

Also, I can literally pick up a Sony Ericsson phone with "Walkman" capabilities for almost free on a 12-month contract, or from about 100 euros on prepay, with almost the same amount of call credit already included, so basically I'm getting the phone for free! And many of these phones have 3G and video call (think iChat AV) capability).

That being said, I still think the iPhone is a great product. If Apple can successfully add 3G technology, and some time during 2008 a more affordable version, they're a force to be reckoned with. I'm just saying they won't have it easy is all.

Finally about the camera, do you seriously think it can compete with say the camera in even the old (by now) Sony Ericsson K800i? Even if it's good for a 2 megapixel cameras, and I'm quite aware of the megapixel myth (I own an old Epson 2 megapixel camera that blows away a lot of cheap 7 megapixel cameras).
post #30 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steinar View Post

Here are some numbers for you:
In Sweden (9 mill inhabitants) there were sold 563,000 mp3 players in Q4 2006. Of those only 33,000 (-38%) were hard drive based, the segment dominated by Apple. Flash based players amounted to 530,000 (+78%). Largest vendor Creative, ahead of Sandisk and Apple. In the same quarter were sold 787,000 music mobiles (+57%), a market dominated by Sony Ericsson. Source: http://www.itresearch.se

There must be something strange with Apples pricing in Sweden. In Australia and Ireland, iPods are almost always cheaper than the competition when you compare the cost per Mb. That is probably a major reason why they outsell the competition. The same applies in many other countries, which is why iPods dominate the market worldwide - not only are they better, they are also usually cheaper.

I think a lot of people are getting the music mobile thing a bit confused. Sales figures of these do not automatically mean that people are buying these instead of iPods. I have a SE K750i but I do not use it for music, I am only interested in the camera, which is excellent - I dont use the FM radio either because I stopped listening to radio years ago - I now listen to radio station ME - my iPod.

I think only relatively young people with tiny music collections are buying music mobiles as their one and only music player - ugghhhh! How much can you get on these - 2gb or so? My 15gb iPod is full and only has a fraction of my music collection on it - I desperately want a larger capacity one.
post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Hood View Post


I can't help but think this must be causing a serious dent in iPod sales here currently. Nevertheless, it's just a dent at this stage, but Apple needs to not make any mistakes if they don't want it to become a problem.

In January I flew to Switzerland. I noticed people listening to iPods at Dublin airport, on the plane, at Zurich airport, numerous swiss commuters on the train to Lucerne and people walking about at my eventual destination.

On that trip I could not tell you how many iPods I spotted, I lost count, I can tell you I spotted only one person listening on his phone - a teenager on the train. One commuter plugged his earphones into his laptop as he was comutewarrioring.

There's my contrary anecdote.

In 12 months time I'll probably be playing spot the iPhone. They are going to sell lots because of the - I hate this word but will use it anyway - bling factor. They will be THE phone to be seen using and people will shell out just for that - the fact they will be the best will be incidental.
post #32 of 47
I have used SE phones for a while.

I don't play music on them, but like the mp3 ringtone abillity.

The cameras on them are rubbish, but probably a bit better than the even worse competition. The camera is only good for adding a photo of the contacts in your phonebook so you see their piccie when they call you - apart from this they are useless

I have a SE K750i & K800i

3G is nice for the odd website - mainly bbc/mobile.

The iPhone should do everything that my SE K800i does & MORE & BETTER

JMHO though!
post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Yes and no, Sir Howard. It's more likely Apple saw a threat to the iPod in terms of multifunction devices (i.e. music cellphones) before music cellphones ever started becoming fashionable (which is pretty recently) and decided to make one in order to cover both sides of the portable music market. Tech pundits have been predicting the onslaught of music cellphones against the iPod for a long time now... wasn't exactly a secret to anyone.

Apple's likely been thinking of taking this market since before the ROKR began development in 2004. The first Walkman cellphone was announced in 2005. Sony has little, if any, claim to being more visionary here than Apple. Apple just spent time learning the market with the ROKR experience, that's all, which enabled them to develop the far-superior iPhone.

Now all they have to do is give us a 3G version.

.

Or maybe 4G
Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini.
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Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini.
Reply
post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

How do you know SE phones are doing that? I have both - the phone isn't even close to being a substitute for the iPod. You can't plug decent headphones into it without a 3rd party adapter - the supplied ones are a joke for music

My SE phone came out of the box with a Sony-branded universal headphone adapter. Weird...
post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacGregor View Post

I didn't know that the Sony Ericsson Walkman phones had multi-touch, a real web browser with smart magnification, that they had visual voicemail, that they had 3.5" screens and multiple programmable key mapping, that they run GoogleMaps and have CoverFlow, an iPhoto-like app running on OSX AND iTunes!?!?!? Gosh Apple is so late to that program!!

Sure those phones might be popular now, but I'm tired of people being so blind to what the innovations of the iPhone are that they can't even compare devices intelligently.

The key will be that media in all of those iPods and future AppleTV's and online will be also syched to the iPhone. iTunes and the GUI are the thing that makes Sony worried. Until Sony can make their own OS and music store and not have to work with and fight MS (see Zune) at the same time - they are at a disadvantage for real innovation.

Multitouch - never missed a call yet for not having it...
Web-browser - I have a perfectly acceptable web-browser on my K800i (Opera)...
Visual voicemail - Hmmm, not bad feature... but again, my present voicemail works OK...
3.5" Screen - Can you spell "battery life"?...
Key mapping - And...
GoogleMaps - Not arsed about that... and my K800i lets me call and get directions. If iPhone had GPS then maybe... but again with the "battery life" comment...
Coverflow - I hate that bloatware so much... iTunes is like a fat kid these days and I simply cannot be arsed with that form of navigation. Original iTunes browse mode fits just fine.
iPhoto - It's still not exactly snappy on my laptop... I assume iPhone ain't running a C2D and 2Gb RAM?...

Media media media media... nonsense. Sure, design me a phone with a nice UI that "just works". But importantly give me decent reception on "any" network I'm likely to encounter and a battery life that lets me have a life away from my charger. I'd like not to have to carry my 60Gb iPod around... and it would be cool to have finally a stereo headset that has decent quality and call capability... camera is handy if it's a decent quality job.

Y'know... for *my* needs the SE K800i is pretty much on the button... I don't doubt that Apple would do a nicer job on the UI... but it's a phone, not my whole world, so I can live with it. It does what I need and didn't cost me £400+

iPhone has some pretty big shoes to fill if it's going to be something that people like me (30's, gadget hungry, business traveller, needs connectivity in EU, US, Asia, not able to recharge every 15 mins or tolerate system hangs for bloatware) are going to get along with and want to plunk down for.

My first iPod was wicked, totally solid bit of kit and extremely well built. Intuitive and reliable and did exactly what I wanted... that was a 1G 5Gb and I've subsequently had a 2G 10Gb, 3G 40Gb, 5G 60Gb, iPod Shuffle 1G and iPod Shuffle 2G... the "real" iPods have got progressively worse built, bloated on software and even the packaging has declined in quality.

Apple used to be masters at delivering what is *needed* in the most intuitive and high quality way. With bloated nonsense like Coverflow I think that they've lost the edge of purity that they had. I think that the industrial design remains of a high quality but the execution and software for me has lost it... and the build quality...

Not really such a fanboy anymore I guess.
post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

As a lot of other posters observed, Sony makes great hardware

Pure myth. Their hardware tends to be small stylish lumps of excrement!

I used to think otherwise but I now know the truth through bitter experience.

SONY:

Walkman FM2 - supposedly could record in stereo. It could - just - but you wouldn't want to listen to the result. Soon developed wow and flutter on playback that was enough to make you queasy.

XR 780 car cassette deck - logic controlled bi-azimuth head adjustment... pile of dog droppings - it's logic circuits would sometimes get scrambled so a tape was stuck and could not be ejected - to get the tape out the thing had to have half the innards disassembled before you could activate the mechanicals in the correct sequence to eject the tape. This took about 2hrs of work each time - at least. In quiet passages in the music at medium or higher volume levels, you could hear a grinding noise from your speakers that was interference from the drive motor being transfered to the audio section - Grrrrr. Was this a cheapie - NO - this was their, at the time, top of the line deck!

MDR -80 headphones - quite expensive - good sound for the time but foam earpads fell apart in a month or less, as did the spare set. Cable was extremely fragile, I soon lost track of the number of times I had to shorten it due to internal breaks that had to be cut out. If I didn't know how to solder they would have been binned inside a year or two. Other plastic bits broke also.

ICF 2001 Short wave radio - went well for two years then the controls started locking up and the performance dropped a lot

ICF Pro 80 Very expensive small and stylish 150khz - 223mhz lw/sw/fm/vhf receiver. Brilliant for about 18 months then volume and performance started to decline - totally dead by 3 years. It turns out all the sm electrolytic capacitors were untested and they slowly dried out and they ALL slowly died.

TCD-D7 portable DAT recorder - portable my eye! Would drain a whole set of alkaline batteries to play or record 1-2 tapes. Had to get an expensive Sony brand power supply because the *&^%$ use a proprietary power plug no one else uses! &**(()) typical for Sony. After 18 months or so it would not fast forward a tape beyond about half way - a common problem. On the whole Lasted a little longer than some other things - about 5 years before inexplicably loosing all sound output capability. Expensive

MDR - D77 headphones - expensive - but absolutely among the most brilliant headphones ever made by anyone - so of course they soon stopped making them. Earpads fell apart after about 2 years - replacements ludicrously expensive. NiTinol headband wires snapped after about 5-6 years of use - fair enough, but wires in headphone have broken internally several times. They are still in use because no one has ever made a viable alternative so I keep repairing them through herculean feats of micro surgery.

SE K750i - After 14 months, two keypad illuminating leds came on dimly and stayed on - even when the phone was switched off! You had to take the battery out to turn them off. I found the fault in corrosion in some pins on a minuscule connector and was able to clean the damage and flush with solvent. So far so good.

I have had only two Sony products that have not failed unreasonably and which have been acceptable value for money - an FM/AM only walkman radio and a T310 phone.

Sony make expensive, small good looking junk. A major part of their business model would appear to be based on the supply of expensive parts for repair.
post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

I think its the fault of a 'design by committee' mentality more than anything. Few companies have the equivalent of Apple's structure, where Steve Jobs (who has good instincts when it comes to physical design and UIs) just rolls on into the meeting and hollars, "That SUCKS! FIX IT!"... and then they do. 8)

Nearly everywhere else, you have to keep everyone happy. The result is 'groupthink' mediocre products.

.


B I N G O
post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfmorrison View Post

My SE phone came out of the box with a Sony-branded universal headphone adapter. Weird...

Touche !

lucky you, mine didn't
post #39 of 47
Sony's lost quite a bit of credibility over the years, they simply aren't the company that they used to be in terms of turning out a quality product.
post #40 of 47
Sry, double post.
Cut-copy-paste, MMS, landscape keyboard, video-recording, voice-calling, and more... FINALLY
To the 'We Didn't Need It' Crowd/Apple Apologista Squad : Wrong again, lol
Thanks for listening to your...
Reply
Cut-copy-paste, MMS, landscape keyboard, video-recording, voice-calling, and more... FINALLY
To the 'We Didn't Need It' Crowd/Apple Apologista Squad : Wrong again, lol
Thanks for listening to your...
Reply
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