Sony Trumps Apple iPhone with Vaio Micro UX1
Sony Vaio UX1 Ultramobile Computer cum ....
The Marketing & Promotion
I first spotted the ads for this machine in the Financial Times Weekend Colur Magazine. The written text is unremittingly sexist it "packs a techno punch; it's the ultimate boy's toy... ". Actually its small size is very likely to appeal to women but it's huge current price will not unless women break through the 'silicon ceiling'. It seems to be aroun £2K right now but as the advertising says occasionally a new technology product "can chqange the paradigm". iPod did that to the Sony Walkman so maybe it's Sony's turn to do it to Apple?
Well its certainly ultra-mobile. Can it compete with the trend towards all in one devices which Blackberry, iPhone and most mobiles are aiming for? It certainly beats the competition offered from Samsung but at a price. Well it's certainly in the running! It has 32GB of Flash memory not a hard disc drive HDD which makes it fast and reliable and proves the sharper predictions of the technology press 3 months ago were right as they said the next big leap forward would be based upon huge flash memory capacity what companies like Samsung have predicted will be "Super-Blackberries".
From the perspective of mass media can it communicate in a world which is going unremittingly wireless and internet driven? Well the advertising says it can:
But that's nothing. Just check out the Flash driven advert below which I find fun and convincing. A clear case of the media is the message I think :-)
Click on the above image and then click on "Get the full story" box for a very impressive interactive advert which has a virtual stylus which you can use to check out the UX1's capabilities. This is an advance in advertising technique I think.
It has wireless LAN for continuous communication and even two cameras built in so that a video chat can be conducted on the move. With Vista as its operating system and a huge memory you can use the browser of your choice. It even has built in microphone and speakers. As a phone it can communicate to more than one person. With headphones its private. At around the size of a PSP its a no brainer if you've got the cash of course !!
Is it a marker of the technology to come? Is it creating a new paradigm. I think so. I want one immediately whereas the latest mobile phone has no interest for me at all. Imagine how useful this could be for professional photograhers for example. You can have a full working version of Photoshop and computer with you for less than the weight of a medium size fast lens. Edit and upload your shots while out on a shoot in demanding conditions. This beats a lot of laptops and is a prelude to the way many laptops will be going.
This means that prices will become affordable in a couple of years or less. can Nokia and iPhone bring out competitive products or will it be Toshiba who have a powerful place in the laptop market who are challenged as well. With this one I suspect Sony are on a winner. but clearly the ultramobile computing market is set to take off big time. Watch this space.
In depth review from Personal Computer World this also has a link to the Samsung Q1 an earlier cheaper but less effective competitior in the ultra mobile market
For a more typical aspirationally minded geeky macho male check out the entirely predicatble GQ lifestyle magazine way of reviewing things.
The Turbo-gadgets Blog is quite interesting for surface reviews. Check out the SonyEricsson New phone for Japan while your here.