Only Sony could produce a netbook that costs $900. Their clever strategy: declare that it isn’t a netbook. Let’s see small size, a small screen short on vertical resolution, an awkward keyboard, limited storage, wireless broadband, comes in multiple colors — sure smells like a netbook to me. How is this three times better than the sub $300 Acer netbook I recently bought? (admittedly the Sony has more CPU power and a GPS).
Sony needs better differentiation than a much higher price, running Vista as opposed to the XP or Linux that most netbooks run (for good reason) and no doubt the usual full complement of Sony craplets which led to my previous vow not to buy any more laptops from Sony (did I mention that last Sony machine was subsequently recalled due to a possibility of “abnormal heat deformation”?). They seem to have built the PS3 of netbooks.
Delightful to see Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer getting called on the carpet by Walt Mossberg for Sony’s status as the industry leader in craplets. I bought one of the little Sony TZ-series laptops earlier this year and it came with 25 separate “offers”. Many of these “offers” ran as startup processes and some were evidently such compelling “offers” they warranted more than one process. The result was a machine so slow it was unusable, plus the annoyances of the actual “offers”. And since Sony doesn’t provide the DVD for the operating system, it is a pain to flatten the machine and start over. Needless to say no more Sony laptops for me.
Stringer’s response to Walt pushing for a craplet moratorium is priceless:
“I have to determine whether the joy of craplets is worth preserving.”
You’d assume that would be a pretty straight-forward determination given the repeated drubbing Sony has taken on this issue in recent months. But you also have to wonder just how deep the Orwellian instinct runs at Sony when you see things like this from them (which was introduced after my purchase unfortunately):
I’m not sure which is more remarkable:
- That Fresh Start is not the default, yet they make no effort whatsoever to sell the virtues of their default craplet load.
- That someone at Sony actually spent the time to brand and trademark the craplet-free option. Perhaps they plan to take the Fresh Start brand to other Sony products (“we’ll restore channels 10-99 on your new Sony TV, which by default we set to loop some bad infomercials, but only if you opt for the non-default Fresh Start option”). If you ever wondered what was beyond planned obsolescence, now you know.
- The irony of Sony out bemoaning low cost competitors like the ASUS EeePC for precipitating a “race to the bottom” based on price as if Sony’s business didn’t have other significant vulnerabilities due to their inability to understand and respect basic customer desires. I can’t find anything on ASUS’ site suggesting an optimized system is not the default.
Ok, enough venting.