Sony is moving closer to a head on fight with Apple, who in recent years have flattened the Sony brand, with a range of unique products, better designs and patents on technology that give them a distinct advantage over the struggling Japanese consumer electronics Company.
Last night it was revealed that Sony is attempting to fight back after the Company was exposed developing two handheld devices that will directly target Apple.
The devices that are being jointly developed with Sony Ericsson with the devices specifically designed to run PlayStation games, similar to those sold for the Sony PSP.
The new device has been described as a crossover device between the PSP, an e-book reader and a netbook and will be aimed squarely at the new Apple iPad which is due later this year.
Sony has not said how they intend to overcome Apple patents on touchscreen technology with analysts tipping that Apple will take action against any manufacturer who develops a touchpad using “gesture” finger touch screen technology, similar to what Apple owns following their acquisition of the Two Fingers Company.
This is the same technology that Apple claims phone maker HTC is using, after they took legal action earlier this week to stop sales of HTC phones in the USA.
According to the Wall Street Journal Sony is reportedly contributing significantly more effort to the PlayStation phone than it does for most Sony Ericsson projects.
It has also been revealed that Sony is struggling with their new PSP Go which has been a big flop in Australia according to retailers.
The two would tie into an online media service due to go live this month in the USA and in Australia later this year.
The WSJ claim that it is widely known that Sony has been “bruised” by Apple’s presence in the handheld arena. While the PSP has regularly been outsold by the cheaper Nintendo DS line, the iPhone and iPod touch have only compounded the problems as they circumvent many of the drawbacks of traditional portable consoles.
Users of Apple devices have access to the entire iPhone game portfolio, with tens of thousands of games being downloaded every day for up to &9.95 each. In contrast PSP games, meanwhile, are still mostly dominated by sales of physical UMD copies and in any form usually cost $50 to $60.
Plans by Sony to force consumers to move to a model where they have to download games to their new PSP Go, has been a disaster with the Company struggling to generate handset sales.
The WSJ said that Sony has also had a hard time competing in multi-function devices and most notably flopped with Milo, a communicator that neither had phone features nor gaming. Sony has publicly expressed interest in a tablet to challenge the iPad but until this year had no immediate rival, as most features are scattered across different categories. Its Reader e-book devices have been relatively but, at one million sold to date, have trailed significantly behind the Amazon Kindle’s three million.