Once king of the portable music world, Sony has become a business school case study for losing its dominance so badly to Apple's iPod. The struggling Japanese conglomerate has been playing a desperate game of catch-up with a variety of products and strategies ever since.
Making only minimal inroads against Apple, Sony seems to have focused on the strength that propelled it to the top of the consumer electronics industry for decades: innovative design. But the Walkman Bean? In its first day in the public eye, the electronic legume has not been met with a kind reception in the blogosphere. Rather than seeing this as a successful return to Sony's aesthetic roots, most appear to think that the Bean is a sign of either desperation or insanity--or both.
Blog community response:
"I'm sure we've all seen some weird gadgets, but this has got to be one of the weirdest. The Walkman Bean (hence the shape). We just have to see how people react to the BEAN design..."
--The Tech Haven
"Everybody tries to kill the ipod. that's a fact in the business world today...Sony is struggling with their NW line Walkmans. Sheesh, they better go seppuku if they fail again this time."
--and for the umpteenth time...
"And people wonder why iPods are the number 1 selling mp3 players. Who thinks beans are cool?"
--Scruffy Dan's Blog???
"Sony's answer to the iPod Shuffle is the Walkman Bean. Could Japan's multimedia giant be taking a fresh bite of Apple here?
"Sony Corporation as a manufacturer of music player hardware, content 'creator' and software developer could have executed the Apple strategy, but didn't."