Remember back in the 1980′s and 90′s when Sony could not miss with new products and existing product extensions? They owned high end televisions and despite a major failure with Betamax they recovered and established themselves as a leader in video recording and playback. Lugging around a Sony camcorder was a sign of status, reflecting best in class with a price tag to match.
The gaming console market existed long before Sony entered it with the Playstation but I think we can all agree that Sony owned the game console market once they entered it and set a standard to which other aspired, and then took it mobile with the PSP, an under-appreciated product that has outsold the game console that spawned it. Even with their decline and the endless series of missteps with the PS3 launch, they still amassed 70 million online gamers in their network.
Mobile phone handsets… not a clear leader but definitely in the leader pack and with a reputation for well engineered hardware. The W series and Cybershot mobile handsets reflected disciplined targeting before the age of the smartphone where one device could do everything.
For 2 decades Sony could do no wrong… from electronics that spanned alarm clocks to professional grade recording equipment, coupled with an entertainment division that uniquely brought together content in a form that we now associate with Apple.
I was thinking about this the other day when I decided I wanted a Samsung Note 10.1 tablet. Several online reviews I found put the Note tablet against the Sony Android tablet and the result was surprisingly positive for Sony. Hmmm… interesting, but in the final equation I found myself gravitating to Samsung because of the leadership they have exerted in the market, combining engineering and design in compelling products. In other words… the old Sony.
This caused me to mentally inventory the other products in our home that are graced with the Samsung label. We have been replacing flat panel displays with updated LED models and in each case I have purchased Samsung models, from the very high end options to the small utility display that hangs under our kitchen cabinets. DVD players, Samsung… the integrated Anynet+ system is really painless. Washer and dryer in the laundry room… Samsung. We have become a Samsung home without paying much attention to it, they are putting out hit after hit.
An unintended beneficiary of my Samsung admiration may be Microsoft. I have been hearing good things about Windows 8 from people who would, by any definition, be called hardcore Mac addicts but it wasn’t until Samsung brought their vision for hardware to the table that I really paid attention. The next generation Ultra laptops are very impressive and could well displace my trusty Macbook Air…
PS- I did buy the Note Tablet and after 3 days of frequent use I am impressed.