updated 07:12 am EST, Wed February 20, 2013
Sony pushing interoperability and seamless connectivity
Electronista was on hand today for the Sony Mobile Australia product launch of its 2013 Android flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z. Also at the launch was Sony Australia's head of consumer marketing, Nicolas Barendson. According to Barendson, 2013 is going to be a huge year for Sony NFC-equiped devices, which the company is marketing as being 'One-Touch' enabled.
The Sony Xperia Z, like many high-end Android smartphones is equipped with NFC, which enables fast, manual configuration free pairing between similarly equipped devices. Sony was among the first to expand NFC capabilities in smartphones from being just another way to share photos and other files, to adding other capabilities most notably with its Xperia SmartTags. The company's 2012 flagship device, the Xperia S shipped with a pair of the tags, that when coupled with an app, allows users to quickly toggle user-defined settings to put the smartphone into 'home' mode for example, or 'office' mode.
While this can potentially be very useful, automating the rather mundane tasks of setting an alarm clock and putting a device into airplane mode, for example, it only scratched the surface of what NFC can do. Under the 'One-Touch' branding, Sony is set to launch a marketing offensive to help educate the average consumer about the potential for NFC to make their lives a whole lot more convenient and easy. This will accompany the planned introduction of over 50 NFC equipped devices this year, including speaker docks, headphones and televisions.
"Pairing over Bluetooth, or using DLNA to share content could be a bit difficult for the average consumer," Barendson told Electronista. "2013 is going to be a huge year for Sony and its 'One-Touch' range of NFC-equipped devices; Sony is going to have over 50 products on the market this year that feature the technology," Barendson added. "We will be working hard to educate the average consumer about just how easy it is to use NFC to pair devices, or throw content on their smartphone to our NFC-equipped TVs to share with family and friends," Barendson explained. "And, because 'One-Touch' uses the NFC standard, customers can choose to connect any NFC-equipped smartphone to our rapidly growing range of NFC-equipped devices," Barendson said.
A big part of today's Australian product launch of the Sony Xperia Z was its ability to pair instantly with a range of Bluetooth and NFC-equipped devices. The company set up stalls to show how users can quickly mirror images on a Sony NFC-equipped TV by simply tapping their smartphone against the remote control of the TV set. There is no doubt, this is much more consumer friendly than pairing the device with a TV using DLNA, for example. The same goes for pairing the device to NFC-equipped headphones and speakers.
The fact that Sony is working towards the integration of its devices through an NFC bridge is one of the first tangible examples of Sony CEO 'One Sony' corporate strategy coming to life as the various divisions work to make their devices interoperable across their portfolio where possible. Speaking to Sony staff on hand at the event, a number of veterans commented that even though it has only been 12 months since Hirai took the reigns at the embatteled Japanese tech giant, the company is showing signs of becoming increasingly cohesive and focused. They also pointed to the fact that new Sony Mobile devices such as the Xperia Z and Tablet Z are using a common, integrated UI theme for the first time, as an example of this.
You can also almost certainly expect that the anticipated launch of the Sony PlayStation 4 later today will continue this theme. Don't be surprised to find that Sony has also found a way of cleverly integrating NFC into the PS4's bag of tricks, or to find that it offers a more consistent, seamless user experience across Sony's product line.