Should Sony Go Straight To (Handheld) Video

Ever since Apple came out with the iPod, people have wondered why it wasn’t Sony that came out with such a device. Historically, it was always Sony that was at the forefront of portable consumer electronics, but on this one, they missed the boat. Gizmodo’s Peter Rojas has his latest column up for Wired News, where he suggests that Sony should give up on trying to compete with the iPod, but instead, should leapfrog Apple and focus on their personal video player. Of course, the problem may be the same thing that has made Sony late to the game with an iPod competitor. The content side of Sony is still scared stiff about how these portable digital players can be used to (oh no!) copy and play their content. While a long term visionary company might realize that owning both the content and the delivery mechanism would allow the company to create a solution that almost no one else could match (thereby demolishing the competition and conquering much of the market) Sony’s been a bit slow to catch on. Of course, I’m not yet convinced that portable video is a killer app in the same way portable music is. Portable music has a long history of success. Portable video has a long history of failure (remember the hype around handheld televisions?). I’d much rather see Sony concentrating on ways to improve their Clie handheld device, adding more wireless functionality and building in more multimedia capabilities than seeing them waste their time on yet another single purpose handheld device.

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