I just got myself one of the newest Sony Network Walkmans (with the oh-so-memorable model number NW-S706F). Why, you might ask, do I need another gadget? Well, this one is oh-so-cool. Its firmware could do with an update to improve its usability but it certainly has chic styling, solid build quality and unsurpassed sound quality.
I’m sure that this new Sony product resulted from their best dreamers having a meeting (in their typically forward-thinking Japanese style) for the sole purpose of breathing life and style into the portable music player market. It feels like the mission for this device was to be the best player on the market, period. No holds barred. Just make it sound the best, look the best, feel the best. But I’m not here to extol the virtues of yet another portable music player. Rather, I’m here to tell you why I think this is such a refreshing change for Sony.
It seems to me that the Sony way used to be quite clearly defined – build high quality audio-visual products for all segments of the market. However, it feels like they lost their way over the last few years, probably due to their MemoryStick, ATRAC3 and MD exclusivity. They bought into their own tech too much and locked everyone out in the process. The world passed them by, and, more importantly, Apple made an iPod and an iMac and an iBook and now an iPhone. Sony floundered in a sea of mediocrity, despite having an arsenal of good technology and a design methodology with impeccable taste. Frankly, I lost all confidence that they still wanted to be the best.
The funny thing is, they had every reason to maintain their general marketability while also releasing better-than-the-rest products to the top niches. That excellence in certain product leadership brings a certain culture and drive to the company which then permeates to all their other products, be they alarm clocks or telephones.
But I think that this new device, the one I’m listening to at this very moment, could mark a change in the weather. And the most refreshing thing about it is seeing the stalwart brand proudly displayed on a piece of tech which leaves the rest of the market well behind.
Welcome back Sony.
I am at home tonight, a Saturday night, and notably without anything to do, for perhaps the first time this year. Despite the freedom from pressure, expectation or responsibility, it’s difficult to relax.
I find myself yearning for deep interaction and relationship, and the familiar taste of this desire has become bland through regular dining.
I wonder if perhaps my social circles are incomplete, deficient in a pertinent way, and what I should do about it.
I would love to be able to just call one friend or another on the spur of this empty moment and eagerly decide to flit about, do coffee, or a movie, or even just a chat. A phone conversation for more than just planning or exchanging facts – now there’s a novel idea.
I am resigned to feeling misplaced – solitude can be wonderful, but all I can think about is its opposite.
What a tangled web we weave… Yet even in its entanglement, my web has holes.
EDIT: This fixation is not an attempt to solicit sympathy and socialisation. I’m just venting to the void, as usual…