Sure, Sony seems like a pale shadow of its former self – it is no longer the de-facto category leader in most of its audio/visual business, the brand value is falling, Blu-ray notwithstanding. Yesterday though I was flipping through a book called Digital Dreams – The Work of Sony Design Center, and I must say that I am still rather impressed by some of its concepts/designs.
The amazing thing about the concept products in these pictures is that they’re all designed eons ago (relative to the digital age anyway). The first two are Walkman concepts by Joe Wada, done in 1989. The last one is a Street-style earphone, designed by Hiroshi Yasutomi in 1996 (which has since evolved into the mass-production version of the category-defining MDR-G61 StreetStyle. While the technology has moved on, the design to me is still very classic and dare I say, avantgarde even in 2007. The design principles and rationale behind them are still very relevant and inspiring.
And did you know that the Sony VAIO logo (VAIO – acronym for Video Audio Integrated Operations – the sub-brand in Sony that handles items using consumer audio/video) is supposed to represent the transition from analog to digital? The letters V and A forms a analog sine wave, while IO looks like the binary inputs of the digital age – and in fact, the people over at Sony is geeky in some ways – the startup melody made by VAIO products is actually the equivalent to the sound of punching V-A-I-O into a dial tone telephone.
Cool stuff – do check out the book if you have the chance – it’s a great read on the philosophy and legacy of the (once-great, and hopefully will revive to its former glory someday) Sony.