updated 02:55 pm EDT, Wed July 30, 2008
Sony Mimics Apple Retail
Sony retail locations will soon offer some of the same expanded service options as Apple stores, according to an announcement the electronics giant made late yesterday. Though not making any comparisons of its own, the company says a number of its Sony Style locations will soon grow their Backstage service current PC repair-only focus to at least temporarily include one-on-one training sessions. Similar to Apple's One-to-One, Sony hopes to attract students coming back to school by letting them book two free appointments with a retail staffer to train on using the company's VAIO PCs.
The company isn't clear as to whether a deadline exists for the one-on-one sessions but also promises two workshops for help with the company's newer notebooks during the summer, to be held at 7PM on July 31st and August 12th.
A more permanent option, Backstage Pass, will also be available and resembles Apple's ProCare. A $130 yearly fee gives customers fast-track access for repairs as well as maintenance and setup services for PCs. Other "premium repair support" options will also be available, according to Sony. This will combine with newer support features available to all customers that let them take in cameras, portable media players, and other handheld devices for repairs.
Sony currently offers Backstage in 20 Sony Style stores but plans to more than double this to 42 stores by the fall.