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SONY is looking to reclaim some of its reputation for excellent design and innovation.
Last week, the company revealed that it’s relaunching Aibo, its iconic robotic puppy dog, for the US market.
With a US$2,900 (RM11,890) price tag, the puppy isn’t meant to be a must-have toy for every house. The true point of Aibo is to remind Americans about Sony’s capabilities, and set the stage for more to come from the company in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics and quality consumer electronics. It expects to sell fewer than its volume in Japan, said Mike Fasulo, Sony president and chief operating officer.
“It’s not a product I want to push and drive hard for revenue. It’s more (about) innovation and how the best of Sony comes together,” Fasulo said. “It really is a true expression of the brand.”
Aibo is also an attempt to show that Sony’s learned from its past mistakes, as it failed to place more importance on the marriage of software, services and hardware. Like many Asian
conglomerates, Sony kept its many divisions siloed off from each other. Analysts often note that while Sony owns both a major movie studio and a major music label, it failed to pull all of that together to match Apple’s iPod. It also completely missed the mobile revolution, ultimately exiting the US smartphone market. The firm has also been criticised for making beautiful products with
kludgy software, a sin in a consumer electronics era that values the marriage of both.
Under the leadership of Kazuo Hirai, who resigned as chief executive in February, Sony clawed its way back to profitability.