Sony: It is time for us to change
29th Aug 2012 | 17:27
Kaz Hirai reveals that Sony is adapting to the changing digital landscape
Sony is a company in flux. It announced a number of restructuring plans earlier in the year, changed its top brass, and put its collective head together to figure out quite how to deal with a world where, increasingly, mobile devices are now the centre of the home and not the television.
IFA 2012 is the first time this change was seen on the stage. Kaz Hirai, a Sony stalwart and famous figure in the company, introduced Sony's latest products – taking over from Sir Howard Stringer as the CEO of Sony. And his speech was all about change.
"Sony is an extraordinary company going through extraordinary times," said Hirai.
"We must look at ourselves honestly and I am determined to make changes and do this with laser-like focus and speed."
A lot of these changes have already happened. In the mobile category, we have seen Sony ditch the Ericsson partnership and go it alone, making Xperia the main mobile brand. This was punctuated at this year's show, with news that Sony's latest tablet will be released under this banner – the Sony Xperia Tablet S.
Hirai hopes this new tablet, a slimmed down version of the original Tablet S, will bring more people into the Sony family – an idea that seems to have filtered through Sony from a corporate level.
"We are truly becoming one company," Hirai explained.
One company, with seemingly one focus: to prove to the world it is still an innovator.
"This company drives innovation, rather than reacting to it," said Hirai in his impassioned keynote. "Now is the time for Sony to change."
From today's conference this was seen in the tablet-computer hybrids – the Sony Vaio Dual 11, a laptop with sliding keyboard that flips it into a tablet, and the Sony Vaio Tap 20, a big-screen all-in-one-PC sporting Windows 8 and also a variety of viewing angles. The Tap 20 can go completely flush and tablet-like, showing off the versatility of Windows 8 as a PC and tablet OS.
Sony also revealed a brand-new 4k projector – an area it is truly innovating in – and the KD-84X9005 4K TV, which comes in at a massive 84-inches.
LG may have pipped Sony to the post with a similar panel, but it's great to see Sony looking to 4K as the future of screen technology and not relying on OLED or 3D to wow the crowds.
Interestingly, though, unlike many IFAs before it, TV wasn't where Sony wanted to prove its worth. As Hirai noted in the conference: "Our new products represent breakthrough in the three key areas: games, mobile and digital imaging."
This is definitely a new focus for Sony, and one that it hopes brings it out of its current tech trough.
Judging by Hirai's passion alone, this shouldn't be too much of a problem. But it's the consumers Sony has to convince.