December 18, 2006
The iPhone (ahem) and the Sony PSP Movie Service
Most of the tech news lately is either about new products or old products doing new tricks. One new product that caught the eye of the press is the iPhone released by Cisco's Linksys subsidiary rather than by Apple. (Details on the phone here.) The latter company had been widely rumored to release such a product that combines phone and MP3 player, a la the Chocolate line from LG electronics. Not that it's never been done before. An Apple branded phone, however, may be a better seller to those who want to identify with Apple by buying their products. Apple is notorious for going after other companies who dare put a "pod" in their product name. Who knows how apoplectic they might get when someone puts a lower case "i" in front of a non-Apple product.
Another interesting attempt at synergy is Sony's attempts to leverage the PSP with a Sony branded movie download service. They sort of tried this once when they went with the highly restrictive (and pointless) UMD disc as a way of playing movies on the game system. These discs were not compatible with existing DVD players and held less features than a similar DVD for the same cost. How much of a market dud was the UMD? Tower records liquidated much of its stock over the last month or so as it went out of business. There were piles of UMD discs with a 70% mark-down left as the store dwindled down to nothing. That's how much of a market dud UMD discs were.
The new movie service will allow downloads to memory sticks that can be used with the PSP. There are no details as to how this will work in practice. If past history is any gauge, Sony will likely restrict the use via excessive DRM, use a format that is incompatible with anything else that exists, and charge at least as much as a standard consumer grade DVD while offering less than that same DVD. The product will literally be a UMD on a stick. How could that possibly be appealing. I hope the company can prove me wrong, but I doubt that it will. This service will not only not turn the PSP into a competitor of the iPod (at least for video), it won't turn the PSP into a competitor to the Zune, even with 20 million PSPs out there.
December 18, 2006 | Permalink
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