Sony’s photo sharing service, PlayMemories Online, will be launched this week. This will be Sony’s first product offering storage on a cloud-based platform.
At launch, 5 GB of free storage will be offered to users in six countries. Those are the US, Canada, Germany, France, the UK and Japan.
Photos can be uploaded from such devices as Android smartphones, tablets, and the PlayStation Portable & Vita gaming consoles. In March, the PlayMemories Studio became available for download from the PlayStation Store, allowing console users to organise and edit their photos and videos.
Earlier this month, Sony projected a net loss of 520 billion yen (over €4.8 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31st 2012. This announcement came as reports surfaced that up to 10,000 Sony employees will be made redundant by the end of 2012.
One key observation Sony made in explaining their loss was the decline of their electronics division:
While the pictures and music businesses based in the U.S. have a stable business foundation and are strong from a profitability perspective, Sony’s electronics business in the U.S. is not as profitable.
Sony has been the subject of criticism for not providing strong digital services. Hiroko Tabuchi of the New York Times said that not focusing on digitisation, software and the Internet was “Sony’s gravest mistake.” CNET blogger Brooke Crothers goes further and says that Japanese companies in general have “never had a firm grasp on the importance of software.”
Crothers attributes this to the Japanese concept of ‘monozukuri’ (ものづくり), which places a lot of value on the skill of manufacturing. Patricia Pringle of Japanese Intercultural Consulting described monozukuri as follows:
Monozukuri emphasizes “mono,” the thing that is made, and “zukuri,” the act of making. The person doing the making is de-emphasized, and skills are only implied. I think this reflects Japanese sense of responsibility for making things, as in material substantive things.
The launch of PlayMemories Online is one sign of shifting towards a business of digital products. In addition, Sony announced last week that they are expanding their partnership with Adobe with a particular emphasis on professional video editing tools. Bill Roberts, director of Professional Video Product Management at Adobe, said that “the companies are working to jointly provide a solution for improved workflow efficiency, from news material through high-end content production such as movies.”
Sony have signalled that the main focus of their electronics divisions will now be digital imaging, gaming and mobile. Their goal is to have those three businesses account for 70% of the sales in electronics by the end of the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
The Xperia S is the first product from Sony’s mobile division since the company purchased Ericsson’s stake in what used to be Sony Ercisson. Now, Sony Mobile Communications is promoting the Xperia series as a “cornerstone of Sony’s entertainment experience.”
Chief Marketing Officer of Sony Mobile Communications Steve Walker said that Xperia smartphones “are designed to let consumers use their creativity and imagination to drive connected experiences that interest and excite them.”
Consumers can also try their wrists at Sony’s new SmartWatch, which the company says will keep them discreetly updated with the use of both hands. Now isn’t the time for a smartwatch though, according to reviewer Edward Baig. “The watch sometimes crashed or lost the Bluetooth connection, even when the phone was next to the timepiece,” he said.