Keeping up the value

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Since a couple of years ago Sony has become more focused on its customers – their purchasing behaviour and motivations. Last year, following extensive market research, the company divided its customer market into six distinctive groups – and this year it will focus its product development and retail efforts on two of them: Status Seekers, who first embrace the latest CE technologies, and Innovation Enthusiasts, who purchase the latest technology and are very knowledgeable about it.

Sony also examined the reasons for customers’ reluctance to buy into new technologies. The research showed that they need more information on the retail floor on how CE products benefit them, more guidance to decide between different alternatives, require demonstration on how products work and explanation of what they are paying for. These findings underpin the manufacturer’s new distribution and retail strategy. 

They have also guided Sony’s product development efforts for 2010.

In the lounge

The company’s television product development has centred on connectivity and design of Bravia TVs to ensure their premium market position.

75% of the 2010 Bravia range now comes with built-in Freeview HD tuners giving the viewers access to subscription-free digital channels. 

BRAVIA Internet Video functionality, featured on the 2010 range, allows users to watch the programmes they missed via popular ‘catch-up’ TV services. The users also have access to their rental queue at LOVEFilM, to YouTube and websites such as Twitter, Flickr and Facebook. 

The LX903 BRAVIA series comprises Sony’s first Full HD 3D televisions which use the high frame rate of 200Hz together with Active Shutter glass technology to create realistic depth and vivid 3D images.

The USP of the 2010 BRAVIA line-up is the new Monolithic Design concept. The TV screen has a flush surface and can be reclined at a 6° angle – ideal for viewing from low furniture. 

Among the PoS material with which Sony will be supporting its dealers selling the new Bravia TVs and connected home theatre products will be the ‘lounge’ stand (see above) that will give consumers an immersive experience of the products.

Sony has also confirmed that in May it will bring out a new BRAVIA model, the EX43B, with integrated Blu-ray disc player or DVD player.

On the go

At the trade event in Scotland, Sony demonstrated the benefits of its new Vaio X series of business notebooks which are very durable (they are made out of light carbon fibre) and light – they weigh only 655g. The X series notebooks have 8 hours’ battery life, which can be extended to 16 hours with the use of an X battery accessory.

Among other unique mobile products demonstrated at the show was the A-series Walkman (soon to be introduced in the UK) which has a very clear 2.8in OLED touchscreen and comes with digital noise cancelling headphones.

Recording memories

While updating its Cyber-shot series of cameras, for example by adding its unique Sweep Panorama feature to all models of the W series, Sony demonstrated that it wishes to lead the camcorder sector with a variety of new models and advanced optical features.

There are ten new Handycam models using either memory card or internal flash memory and five HDD models. Premium HD models  feature a Sony G lens with enhanced wide angle capability that captures a 2x larger shooting area than previous Handycam camcorders. Another first is the Golf Shot mode which captures a continuous stream of high-speed images and is particularly suitable for shooting sport action.

Sony also showcased the Bloggie – a ‘fun’ HD camcorder designed to share memories and update users’ personal blogs or social networking applications.

Sony essentials

With a wide range of ‘essentials’ the company has also confirmed its intention to strengthen its position in the accessories market. They include iPod docks for audio, including the recently released iPod dock with wireless subwoofer, dictaphones, a wide selection of cables, SD cards for various media devices and a selection of recordable CD, DVD and Blu-ray discs.

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