Sony’s press conference at IFA has typically been one of huge showmanship; afterwards I have always felt uplifted but on reflection I cannot remember what was actually promised. The new Hirai Sony is so different – while the visuals are still impressive, there is more substance and less style. Others will have reported in detail on what was said. For me, Sony has a renewed energy and confidence with nice products I actually feel tempted to buy.
However, Sony has produced a game-changer. We have all seen the decline of the compact digital camera market; perhaps it is a warning for other digital consumer products too. The all-consuming smartphones have got surprisingly capable cameras and are always at your side. Sony has seen the end and decided to bet its own camera business on revolution. The DSC-QX10 is the answer.
Take away the complicated image processing and viewfinder display from a camera and instead make a wonderful lens-based smartphone accessory. It’s bold, well-made and exactly the sort of step into the unknown that a former Sony would have made. It also works with iOS and Android devices. Surprisingly no-name brands have failed to gain real traction in cameras (are memories too precious?) Sony I think has a fighting chance against the tide of imitators they will encourage.
If this is a sign of a new, pragmatic Sony that doesn’t ignore trends but re-invents product categories instead, then I am impressed. (In the interest of full disclosure, Sony gave me – and all other attendees – one of these units. However it doesn’t work with my Blackberry!)