It looks as though Sony is in the midst of revamping the Walkman and Cyber-shot brands to integrate them into the Sony range of smartphones.
Once upon a time, before the real dawn of the modern smartphone, Sony (then in partnership with another giant of the mobile world, to form Sony Ericsson) made some of the absolute best mobile phones money could buy.
Phones such as the iconic Sony Ericsson K750 rocked the entire world with how simply brilliant they were, but there were two brands that really allowed Sony Ericsson to dominate both the worlds of camera phones and music phones.
The key to Sony Ericsson’s success was undoubtedly the double-header of Cyber-shot and Walkman phones.
Today, although Sony has already found some of its old glory in the shape of the powerful, magnificent Sony Xperia Z, rumours are rife that these two brands are set to make a triumphant return to the company’s smartphone portfolio. To see why this is such a big deal, perhaps it might pay to take a look at just why these brands were so important to mobile phones in the first place…
Cyber-shot – redefining the camera phone
Here’s a quick test: try to name a modern mobile phone which doesn’t have a camera. Other than ultra-cheap pay-as-you-go phones, or corporate/government phones which aren’t allowed to have cameras (in an effort to prevent industrial espionage, or actual, honest to goodness government espionage), the list of phones that don’t have a camera is vanishingly small. The simple fact is that people want cameras on their phones, whether they want a high-end snapper like the PureView technology which Nokia pioneered, or a mid-range HTC Android phone to upload their pics to Facebook.
The Cyber-shot brand is one of the things that directly caused this state of affairs.
Imagine a 5 inch, 13MP superphone like the Sony Xperia Z. Now imagine that’s been given new, enhanced Cyber-shot lenses and, more importantly, the same proper xenon flash found in the old K750. At a stroke, that could become the best camera phone ever made!
Walkman – the brand that launched a thousand music players
Anyone who was around in the 80s will instinctively recognise the name ‘Walkman’, because with that one word, Sony invented the very concept of a truly portable music player. The Walkman name was also used in portable mp3 players, but the important fact is that it eventually found a home in mobile phones. While the Walkman brand never had quite the same impact on the mobile world as the Cyber-shot brand, one simply needs to look at the current mobile industry to see how important music is to modern smartphones.
There’s the iPhone 5s, with iTunes. There’s the new Samsung Galaxy S4, which allows users to link five phones together for proper surround sound. There’s the Nokia Music services on the likes of the Nokia Lumia 930.
Put simply, music is important, and the Walkman brand is a massive opportunity for Sony to take advantage of. As of yet, this rumour remains unconfirmed, but it would make a lot of sense for Sony to go down this route. After all, we’ve all seen how amazing the Sony Xperia Z is; imagine how awesome it would be if Sony took that, and added the extra Cyber-shot and Walkman features.
Of course, even if they don’t, their star is still very much in the ascendant. With phones like the Sony Xperia Z already existing, the future’s looking rather rosy indeed for the Japanese giant!