“Threatened by Apple Inc.’s growing stable of portable devices, Sony Corp. is developing a new lineup of handheld products, including a smart phone capable of downloading and playing PlayStation games, according to people familiar with the matter,” Daisuke Wakabayashi and Yukari Iwatani Kane report for The Wall Street Journal.
“The Japanese electronics giant also has a project under way to develop a portable device that blurs distinctions among a netbook, an e-reader and a PlayStation Portable, or PSP. The device is designed to compete against multifunction products such as Apple’s coming iPad tablet, these people said,” Wakabayashi and Kane report. “Both the new smart phone and the multifunction device are expected to work with Sony’s online media platform, due to launch later this month in the U.S. as the company’s answer to Apple’s iTunes.”
“The new products are targeted for launch in 2010, although many details such as price and certain specifications have yet to be finalized, these people said,” Wakabayashi and Kane report. “Sony’s media platform, temporarily named Sony Online Service, will offer many of the same movies, television shows and music already available on iTunes. But the company aims to differentiate its service by allowing a wide range of devices to tap into its catalog of games, mainly older titles released for the original PlayStation console.”
Wakabayashi and Kane report, “The new smart phone and other coming portable devices are critical elements of Chief Executive Howard Stringer’s turnaround plan.”
MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, Sir Howard Stringer is using the same turnaround plan as the one tried by Captain Edward Smith. Except way slower and with much less turning.
Wakabayashi and Kane continue, “The new devices are meant to counter Apple and its wide range of products that connect to its iTunes media platform. Apple’s iPod Touch and iPhone are pushing into the portable-gaming market inhabited by Sony’s PSP, while the iPad tablet is expected to disrupt the nascent e-reader market where the Sony Reader has already sold one million units.”
MacDailyNews Take: Disrupt? Okay, but let’s be clearer: Apple’s iPad will obliterate the nascent e-reader market and outsell Sony Reader’s rather anemic unit sales total within a few days.
Wakabayashi and Kane continue, “Sony was forced in February to slash its full-year PSP shipment targets by a third. Sales of the PSP Go—the latest version of its handheld, which doesn’t use packaged discs and only plays downloaded games—have been slow, hurt by the PSP Go’s hefty price tag. It costs $250, or $80 more than the PSP model that uses game discs.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Looks like it’s almost time for Sony’s annual ass-kicking. It’s a good thing for Sony that Apple doesn’t make TVs.