According to our friends from electronista, Sony and KDDI (a Japanese wireless carrier) are working on a plan to counter the iPhone by the time it reaches Japan in 2008. The plan would be for Sony to allow MP3 file transfer between Walkman phones and non-Sony devices.
First, I don’t know if that is true, as electronista doesn’t provide additional quotes or links. However, if it is true, Sony’s efforts are futile: Apple has a one-two punch with a better hardware/software and a popular distribution platform (iTunes, plus a lot of marketing hype). Sony has little to compete with. So, if the above is the grand plan to stop Apple from flooding Japan with iPhones, it seems… very weak.
To fight back, Sony has to come up with a sexy phone with a good user interface and distribution platform. This combination is extremely difficult to produce for any company, but especially for a company that sees itself (mostly) as a hardware company, because such a project requires expertise in design, software and hardware. Sony has only two of these skills – their software is just not that good.
To be practical, a Sony phone could be less smart (sounds better than “dumb”) and less expensive: I don’t think that Sony can dislodge the iPhone from the high-end by 2008, so attacking the mid-range/low-end would be a better solution. Everyone is dying for a phone that is less expensive, sexy, with simple features, has a good user interface and good looks. The iPhone doesn’t serve that market… for now
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