An insider who works for Sony here in the US who wishes to remain anonymous wrote to us to give us the lowdown on
what's coming next from the electronics behemoth and why they keep making insane decisions like refusing to put
support for the MP3 format into their new Network Walkman
NW-HD1 (pictured at right).
He was able to confirm the following for us:
That the new Network Walkman NW-HD1 has a battery life of 30 hours and that a 30GB version is on the way;
That Sony's VAIO division will release a personal video player here in Q1 of next year with a 4-inch screen that will be about 5"x4"x1" in size that will sync up with their Connect service for online downloads of videos;
And that three different divisions, VAIO, Walkman, and SEL are all planning to introduce digital audio players and portable video players over the next few months.
So why is Sony stumbling? Because of the internal struggle to get Sony Corporation of America to understand that
without support for Windows Media, DivX, etc., a personal video player cannot succeed. All the different divisions in
Tokyo are sparring over formats and DRM and are out of touch with consumers.
He then goes on to say that the source of the problem lies in Japan, which wants to force products on consumers to buy products by only using standards that people need their special devices to listen to or view. He believes that the debate over which formats to support will continue on past this first wave of new products we're seeing, and that another contact at Sony, one who deals with high-level executives in Tokyo, told him that the company's top leadership makes decisions based on what is popular Japan and feels that what they make should be based only on what Japanese consumers like (see MiniDisc). They refuse to pay attention to other trends around the world and that this has been a problem for a few years, such that regardless of how models without MP3 support fare, you won't see them discontinued.
So completely disappointing, but what's saddest of all is that we probably didn't need an insider to tell us that there's something wrong in the House of Sony. It's been obvious for a while now.</>