June 2004

Sony pulls Clie from US market
In a surprise announcement, Sony said it will stop selling Clie PDAs in the US and any other markets outside Japan for the rest of the year while it is reassessing the market. Needless to say, this is a severe blow for Palm. It is also symptomatic for the PDA industry's inability to translate the initial concept of a personal digital assistant into exciting products that people really want. It's not that Sony didn't try. In its three years in the Palm OS market, Sony introduced a flurry of some 30 Clies, trying every which way to ignitie consumer interest. Unfortunately, Sony was always long on style and short on a clear direction. As a result, each Clie seemed to go off in a different direction, trying this and that, while paying little attention to the one feature that the sadly shrinking pool of PDA buyers do seem to care about: communications. To be blunt: the handwriting has been on the wall. The PDA has been meandering without much direction for years. Most products are boring and in search of an identity. As a result, cell phone makers cleverly incorporated PDA features into a new generation of "smartphones." That most of those assimilated/mimicked features are poorly implemented and often barely work doesn't matter. After all, phones are almost free. You pay later via longterm service contracts. This is not what we had hoped for. Sayonara Sony. You meant well, but you should have listened better. -- Posted Wednesday, June 2, 2004 by chb