I note with some disbelief that Sony are launching a new Walkman, this time as an MP3 player. Nobody under the age of 30 will remember the original Walkman, a relatively cheap and cheerful portable cassette player, and won’t have a clue what a cassette is anyway. This was followed by the CD Walkman, and later the Minidisc Walkman. Anybody remember minidiscs? State of the art back in the 90s. Then in 2001 Apple came up with the iPod, and the world changed forever. The last Walkmans were produced in 2010.

The reason I’m surprised at Sony is the pricing structure for their new gadget, which to be fair has an impressive technical specification. The player itself enters the ring at an eye-watering £949. You can pick up a decent second hand car for that. The company recommends the use of its USB amplifier, which is a snip at £719. Their recommended MDROZ7 headphones are a measly £549. In all the package will set you back £2217, a sum only fractionally less than the 10% deposit on my first house purchase. Sony claim they are aiming for ‘the high end market.’ No kidding! You can get a reasonable laptop for less than the cost of the headphones alone. Or you could pop into Currys PCWorld and get a cheapo MP3  player for about 20 quid.

The thing is, though, as we are all aware, anything techie goes into price freefall within a few months of launch. In a sales ploy known as ‘market skimming,’ companies rip off customers they refer to as ‘early adopters,’ then reach for the ‘reduced for a quick sale’ stickers leaving the early adopters badly out of pocket and not a little miffed. In this case they may also get bored waiting for the 4 hour charge time to elapse. But I have no doubt that Sony think they’ve got a product that’s in the right place at the right time. We shall see.

On another topic, being involved in a plane crash is clearly being in the wrong place at the wrong time, particularly if it involves a light aircraft plunging into a lake just south of Auckland in New Zealand. However there was a splendid example of right people in the wrong place at the wrong time. All six passengers, six crew, and the pilot escaped unhurt. All were experienced skydivers, and when things went a bit awry they simply opened the door and jumped out. Way to go. If your plane is tanking, skydiving skills suddenly take on a whole new significance.

Advertisements