Sony, once THE titan of consumer electronics is now looking toApple for inspiration and direction as it plans to roll out a slew of new products to better compete with the all-star lineup that is the iPhone, iPod Touch, iTunes, and iPad.
Citing people familiar with Sony’s plans, The Wall Street Journal is reporting (subscribers only) that the Japanese based electronics maker is looking to roll out a smartphone capable of playing PlayStation games (iPhone competitor: check!), a new device that blurs the lines between a netbook, an e-book reader, and a PSP (iPad competitor: check!), and a new media platform dubbed Sony Online Service where users of those aforementioned devices will be able to download a wide variety of media content (iTunes competitor: check!)
The Journal reports that Sony is hoping to launch its new products in 2010, though details regarding price, specs, and capabilities remain unclear at this point.
Sony’s next wave of portable devices comes at a time when the PSP, a gadget once hailed by Sony executives as the “Walkman for the 21st century,” is slumping. While it has sold more than 55 million units since its launch in late 2004, the PSP hasn’t quite lived up to Sony’s own hype. Nintendo Co. has sold twice as many DS handhelds during that period and new games for the platform have slowed to a trickle.
Given Sony’s design prowess, it’ll be interesting to see what they come up with, but it’ll be hard, if not impossible, for them to match the seamless integration and accompanying simplified user experience that Apple has turned into a science.