Sony Prepares To Do Battle With Apple, Itself

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Ask anyone what they think of Sony today and chances are you won’t get a positive response. The company that once dominated the consumer electronics sector has fallen on hard times in recent years. Every facet of the business is playing catch up to companies like Microsoft, Samsung and Apple. What went wrong?

I fondly remember my yellow and grey Sports Walkman tape player or the Trinitron that I spent countless hours in front of playing my PlayStation 2. These days I’m listening to music on my iPhone and playing my Xbox 360 on a Panasonic plasma. But all of that could change if Howard Stringer gets his way.

According to a report from the WSJ, Sony is set to introduce a bevy of handheld products this year that include a smart phone that lets users connect to the PlayStation Network store for games or Sony’s online entertainment service aptly named Sony Online Service. The other device will be multifunctional like the Apple iPad, says the WSJ’s sources.

Too little too late?

Sony’s handheld gaming division is on life support. The Go was a total disaster for many reasons but mainly because it was overpriced at $250 and that included an 802.11b chip. Seriously. How is anyone supposed to download a 1GB game? I could take the subway from lower Manhattan uptown to a Game Stop, get a sandwich and maybe take a nap before the game finishes downloading. Shipments of PSPs have been cut drastically for the year, too.

Sony Ericsson devices haven’t been a commercial success in the States and I doubt they’ve seen any sort of success in Europe. Shipments fell off by 41% last year. I don’t even know where you would even purchase a SE device in the US. But Stringer announced at MWC last month that SE devices would soon connect to SOS.

Time for a reboot?

Will these new ventures bring Sony back to the top of heap? Can they get over themselves and get back to doing what they do best? I, for one, hope so.

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