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Old 06-14-2011, 08:42 AM   #166
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Hm, so there are plenty of 6" Pearl screens, yet there is a shortage of 6" Sony Readers? (scratches head)
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:47 PM   #167
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Hm, so there are plenty of 6" Pearl screens, yet there is a shortage of 6" Sony Readers? (scratches head)
It seems that the communal wisdom here is that Sony decided to satisfy the "home" market (which is Japan) before making any further strides in the West.

My personal conclusion is that Sony doesn't believe in viability or competitiveness of their e-reading product in the U.S. and, possibly, in Europe. They've pulled back from all retail channels in the U.S. with the notable exception of their own extremely unpopular online operation; and they have stopped replenishing the stocks of accessories. Obviously, they've given up on trying to compete the x50 series against Kindle and nook (and perhaps even Kobo).

From the pure speculative perspective, it is possible that Sony is actively seeking a new partner to integrate the network-enabled readers currently under development into the partner's ebook marketing biosphere. If the history is any guide, the next generation of readers is due in about 3 months. The Sony ebook store is probably not doing a lot of business. Most ebook buyers haven't heard there is such a thing as Sony ebook store. Perhaps Sony is going to surprise everyone by offering the first reader that provides interface to a variety of ebook sources (i.e. B&N, Kobo, Overdrive, Feedbooks...) This would take them out of the position of being an overpriced biosphere player, which is probably failing anyway, and make them into a pure quality hardware player.

I don't know if Sony is prepared to make a pure hardware bet. And I am not positive Sony's developers can make the necessary software changes to create an intuitive, easy to use multi-source ebook purchasing experience. But if they made an effort and tried, at least it would give them a good will advantage for a possible advertising campaign: "We are not nook, and we are not Kindle - we don't want you paying us dues for the rest of your reader's life. We give you, our customer, the freedom to choose where to buy your ebook!"

In fact, multi-source integration shouldn't even be such a huge undertaking. All ebook sources have web interfaces, so PCs and smartphones are already "integrated". Sony Readers (e.g. PRS-9XX) already have the content-loading interface embedded (but currently only enabled for Sony store). Sony could even plug into some ebook price comparison site "to give you the best bang for your buck".

Multi-source integration and continued quality hardware would justify a certain price premium, I am sure.

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Old 06-14-2011, 02:04 PM   #168
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What makes you think they can't do this? This is how the RL works over here. It gives you different shops to buy with. If I remember correctly it were two here in Germany, when I got my first Sony back in early December 2010.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:34 PM   #169
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Don't you think that most of the time the reader will be outdated before there is a need for service?...
I really hope so. Fingers crossed my 650 will last for many years.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:41 PM   #170
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The Kobo is sold in the UK, http://tinyurl.com/6doeewn and have an online bookshop for the UK as well
It should be OK with the likes of WH Smith behind it.

Funny that they do not seem to have pushed it a great deal. Similar price to the Kindle so you would have thought they would try to grab a share of that market.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:42 PM   #171
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What makes you think they can't do this? This is how the RL works over here. It gives you different shops to buy with. If I remember correctly it were two here in Germany, when I got my first Sony back in early December 2010.
I didn't say they can't. They absolutely can, but it would require software development effort and investment. So I believe this to be unlikely.

I've had Sony readers for several years longer than you. And I can make the following statements with some confidence:

1) Sony rarely listens for customers, and almost never satisfies customer requests. Sony doesn't actively solicit customer feedback via online forums and discussion groups. The feedback here at MR has been consistently ignored.
2) Sony engineering always prefers to make minimal possible amount of software changes.
3) On departmental level Sony appears to be very risk-averse. The downside of losing the content business may outweigh the upside of selling more hardware. Sometimes it feels like Sony doesn't like to compete on the economies of scale either.
4) The only way for Sony to mass market their product in the U.S. at this point is through the retail channels. I don't consider SonyStyle.com to be a viable mass market channel (as an e-commerce website it is one of the worst I've seen). The other retail channels have been severed (for now at least).

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Old 06-14-2011, 02:57 PM   #172
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None of the above is exclusive to Sony readers. Having used their gaming consoles for years, and their mp3-players for even longer, not to mention constant exposure to their computers through my job, the first three things you listed are typical of everything they do. Add to this that they are disturbingly arrogant and somewhat divorced from reality (they genuinely believed we would fall in love with the PS3 because it was branded "Sony") and the only reason to buy their products is the hardware quality.

It sometimes irritates me that their hardware is as reliable as it is.
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:11 PM   #173
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Not so sure having WHS makes it OK... have you been in one recently? The main Birmingham branch has an empty eReader display and staff with no knowledge about them... if not for the link above, I would have no idea they sold a range of eReaders at all, I'd assumed they were giving up on them and books...


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It should be OK with the likes of WH Smith behind it.

Funny that they do not seem to have pushed it a great deal. Similar price to the Kindle so you would have thought they would try to grab a share of that market.
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:46 PM   #174
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:54 AM   #175
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Not so sure having WHS makes it OK... have you been in one recently? The main Birmingham branch has an empty eReader display and staff with no knowledge about them... if not for the link above, I would have no idea they sold a range of eReaders at all, I'd assumed they were giving up on them and books...
Perhaps you are right then.

To be honest I have not been into Smiths for a long time, with an eReader there really is no need.

As I said, I'm amazed that as they are supplying the Kobo they are not making more fuss about it and trying to steal some of Amazon's market, you can't go anywhere these days without bumping into a Kindle display it seems.
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Old 06-15-2011, 01:24 PM   #176
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Usually companies with a well functioning marketing team have people out ensuring their displayers are prominent, that the staff of the retailers are trained etc.

They have ad campaigns in media and newspapers.

They might even interact with their fanbase.

I think not seeing any of this for the last 6 months, combined with the decrease of stock and disinvestment of retailers really paints a picture of a company not investing in their product and seeing how Sony generally treats their niche products it's all too easy to make comparisons.
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:23 PM   #177
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Does anyone know if Sony is at all making money with hardware business?

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Add to this that they are disturbingly arrogant and somewhat divorced from reality (they genuinely believed we would fall in love with the PS3 because it was branded "Sony")...
They sold roughly the same number of consoles as Microsoft and were selling roughly the same number of games (before "epic fail" at least). So I wouldn't say they've failed with PS3.

I did however notice that US press tends to bash Sony (and, ahem, Nokia, still #1 phone manufacturer, even in smartphone department) for no reason. Would be a pity if mentioned manufacturers of superior hardware would fall victims of badmouthing in the press.

PS
About "epic.fail":
Spoiler:

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Old 06-15-2011, 02:32 PM   #178
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They sold roughly the same number of consoles as Microsoft and were selling roughly the same number of games (before "epic fail" at least). So I wouldn't say they've failed with PS3.
I didn't say they did. As far as sales go, the PS3 is a rousing success, and it should be. The hardware is better than the 360, and it can do a lot more. It was simply the first example of their attitude I could think of. Though I think it can safely be argued that they failed hard when it came to securing the servers the PS3's connect to... At least that's what came to mind when you mentioned their epic fail. Who'd have thought you actually need to update your firewall?

If you want a non-PS3 example, we can always look at the famous quote from when they were called out on putting root kits as a part of the DRM on music CDs, installing them without the user's knowledge, and creating massive security risks on our computers in the process. As I recall, Sony's response was alone the lines of "most of the ones who are affected don't even know what a root kit is, so what's the big deal?" (Yeah, I paraphrased that. I'm too lazy to google the exact phrase.)

Or we can look at the pricing of anything they sell. Or the non-existent documentation for anything that they sell. Half their FAQ answers is "call our support".

I like Sony products. I don't like Sony. They're the Apple of the non-Apple world.
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Old 06-15-2011, 03:19 PM   #179
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I did however notice that US press tends to bash Sony (and, ahem, Nokia, still #1 phone manufacturer, even in smartphone department) for no reason. Would be a pity if mentioned manufacturers of superior hardware would fall victims of badmouthing in the press.
That is not my impression. To me it looks like both Sony and Nokia have dug their own graves by being complacent and arrogant. I used to be a Nokia fan for years. Then, a couple of years ago I bought an Android smartphone, and there Nokia lost me as a customer. Probably forever.

I haven't been following other Sony products, but it seems that at least where home entertainment, TVs and camcorders are concerned, Sony has a reputation for somewhat higher quality and seriously higher prices.

The Reader, however, I watched quite closely. It was never bashed except in cases where it deserved to be: the 700 and 600 "touch edition" fiascoes. Most reviewers loved the Reader, if they could be bothered to evaluate it properly.

But Sony never went all in with the Reader. I can recall very few significant ad buys, which don't even come close to those by Amazon and B&N. Those two are on every magazine cover in America, they are in newspapers, online and on TV. Sony - no big introductions, few technoblog plants. No official online support community, no customer feedback accepted. Sony has been Reader's worst enemy.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:00 PM   #180
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I somewhat feel that the recent bashing of Nokia has been fully justified. When there is a paradigm shift in the market, the lazy complacent companies are the ones that suffers.

History is littered with companies that due to their internal structure couldn't or wouldn't change. Just takes companies like NCR or IBM. Also Symbian feels almost primitive compared to other mobile os's.

Dont see any Sony reader bashing going on (although they got spanked for the Playstation hacker scandal, and well deserved). I actually think the amount of silence FROM sony is the most disturbing thing. I want to see press releases, statements, discussions, promises, heck even false promises. Just some sort of activity to show they give a damn about the market.
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