This should be fun. How's that PSP Go thingie coming along, Sony?
Sony is working on a series of devices designed to take the fight to Apple's iPhone and iPad, it has been claimed. So say "people familiar with the matter" cited by the Wall Street Journal who point to what seem to be extensions of the PlayStation Portable into smartphone and media tablet territory. Rumours have been cropping …
...because if they develop anything that has features remotely like any Apple product then Apple will probably take them to court for a patent breach. Apple are one of the most innovative companies around, if you class innovation as taking an idea someone else had years ago and slapping a patent on it.
Its always amazed me that ipod is a byword for mp3 player, and that its made by apple.
Sony shoudl have had this area sewn up. They had the walkman, they had playstation, they had erricson and some how they couldnt actually do anyhting decent with them music wise. Especially since it would be so easy; Take a PSP go, add 3G, a touchscreen, and the mp3 player software from the walkman phones and bobs your uncle. It already has a mic, and speakers, everythign else can be software based. And there is already a dedicated store for apps.
I use my PSP GO 10x more than I ever used my PSP2000, simply because it has all the stuff I want on it. much like.... a iPod.....
As for number of developers, that is meaningless, as 99% of iPhone "apps" and "games" are utter tripe.
Quality over quantity, and PSP is where the quality is...
I have an iPod Touch (64Gb) and an PSP 3000. For games, I'll take the PSP anyday - it's far more natural to play games on that than the iPod is, even though it does have some cool games... but I can't see how I would be able to play Street Fighter properly on a touch screen. On the other hand, for music, pictures, movies and most definitely web surfing, gimme on iPod. Sony should be embarrased and ashamed about the quality of the web browser on the PSP.
I'd love to see the PSP become a cellphone though... they could do a really, really good job with that as Sony Ericsson phones usually rock.
The question is not if Sony could make some cool gizmo, the question is whether they can develop a supporting ecosystem as easy and seamless as Apple's. For example:
1. Will wanna-be developers for PSP and PS3 be able to download the SDKs from Sony for free, play with it and then only pay $100 per year to submit games and upgrades?
2. Can devs bypass brick and mortar stores/BR media/memory sticks and market their apps directly to the consumer online?
3. Will Sony give the developers a 70/30 split like Apple?
4. Will Sony develop an iTunes-like app to sync apps, music, movies, TV shows, etc. with Sony Phones and PSPs?
5. Which Mobile OS is Sony using now? Symbian? Android 1.6? How would that dovetail into the PSP? Are they gonna leave behind the old Sony symbian cell phones?
Remember in 2001 when Apple first introduced the iTMS, Jobs said it looked easy but it wasn't. Apple has had close to 6 years to refine the whole iTunes experience before the whole iPhone explosion and a year later the whole App store explosion. Meanwhile Sony was screwing around with ATRAC, MiniDisk, memory sticks, UMD and rootkits and their media guys prevented their tech guys from setting up an easy to use online store because they were so hyper about piracy.
The ecosystem Sony would target to with something like a PSPphone wouldn't be the same for the iBone. The fact that Sony brings up a PS-based phone doesn't mean it is an iPhone imitator. In fact, it has a quite different ecosystem *already in place*, it doesn't need to build it.
1. Sony doesn't *need* a zillion developers for a PSP. Most apps for the PSP would probably be games, which Sony already has a good share of producers churning out. It isn't like N-Gage which needed to bring titles to the platform. iPhone may have more games, but hardcore gamers won't be easily attracted: would you play Pac-Man, or JimBum's "Park-Man" lookalike? Iron Gear Liquid: Snake Biter? hm... I don't think so.
However, I do think Sony would open up to 3rd party developers; in the world of consoles, they were nice enough to allow Linux to run on their PS3s, they are in fact less averse to homebrew stuff as long as they don't hit the game sales income.
2. PSN Store. They've had the Store up there ever since the release of the PS3. The PSP Go even operates on the same principles of the iPhone: buy your games online.
3. This one I don't know, but whatever scheme they're using, it seems to work for game developers.
4. They already have stuff like that for their current SE phones; plus there is the fact that you can simply pass on mp3's on a USB stick to your PS3, or set up media servers on your PC for your PSP & PS3. No need to add a lock-in app.
5. I'd hint a PSPphone would use some modified version of XMB, no need to use something else.
Finally, the "rootkit" which brought such infamy to Sony was actually caused by Sony/BMG ... notice the BMG part.
1. No, Sony doesn't need a zillion developers, but if it wants to have the best chances going forwards, it's dev program needs to be seamless, cheap and easy.
2. Can't really comment on this since I haven't used it, so I'll ask, a question. Does the PSN store allow you to easily purchase apps, music, movies, TV shows, e-books, podcasts, etc. and easily sync them to multiple devices like iPods, iPhones, AppleTV, and allow other users on a wifi/ethernet network to share content? iTunes is seamless in this regard. I doubt Sony allows five devices to share apps like Apple does.
3. Their scheme may have worked in the past, but the past is gone. Apple completely changed the equation with the 70/30 split. Apple sells the cheap apps to sell high margin hardware, Sony has always sold loss leader hardware to sell high margin software. If developers decide they want the 70/30 split like Apple, that's a problem.
4. "the fact that you can simply pass on mp3's on a USB stick to your PS3, or set up media servers on your PC for your PSP & PS3" is not seamless for most consumers. This is one reason why the iPod succeeded and Sony's attempts to enter the digital media player market failed. Their software sucked. When Sony acquires 200 million credit card accounts with their sync software, then you can tell me it has become a seamless experience. BTW, you can dump mp3s into iTunes the same way, and you can drag them right back out of iTunes to use on any other device or software. There is no lock-in.
5. Yes the rootkit might have been the BMG, but Sony bought BMG and couldn't get their entertainment guys (BMG) to trust simple solutions by their tech guys. And the tech guys came up with proprietary crap like ATRAC, MiniDisk, memory sticks, UMD to solve the "problems" like allowing people to play mp3s. A visionary CEO would have cracked heads at the both divisions and made them come up with simple solutions to selling and playing content that was enjoyable for the consumer. Apple has it own proprietary way of doing stuff but at least they use mp3, AAC, h.264, webkit and HTML 5 whenever possible and Apple is largely responsible for pushing Sony and everyone else to drop DRM on music. That would have NEVER EVER happened if the iPod had not been a success and Sony/MS had succeeded with their portable music players.
colin_l ill take that question: the psp go is smaller, and lighter so its easier to hold, but more importantly eaiser to fit in your pocket. the orginal needed a bag, the go can fit in jeans pockets.
also it dosent have the ridiculous format of UMD. all the games you own for it are on the machine. I also love the bluetooth, it allows me to connect to the net.
and the controls are different but better. the anlouge stick is nicer, the buttons feel better, and the screen is crisper.
its just a great little machine: hampered by the initial high price, and lack of any headline upgrades. but what it does, it does great
Sony have made some great devices and great concepts. However, like Apple, they are too proprietorial. I have a Sony camcorder ... good piece of kit but you have to have MemorySticks ... FAIL.
I have a Sony e-Reader ... good kit again, solid, well-built BUT it won't work with a Mac unless you use a third-party piece of software ... FAIL.
Like so many, they stand in the middle of the tracks and don't see the train coming towards them. They thought they were invincible and went for world domination then little Apple came along and bit their arse.
Make it well. Make it easy. Make it accessible to all.
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