The soft buzz of voices, increased with the number of bodies filling The Pavillion foyer, each with a bright coloured lanyard to indicate their allocated group. Scanning through the very detailed press schedule, it was clear that 2013 marks a special year for the annual Sony Africa Conference. The very well organised day was jam-packed with interesting innovations for both the brand and their products, with friendly and informative Sony and Volcano representatives guiding press throughout the event.
Led into a room we (my group and I) were introduced to the Sony representatives from the Middle East, who together with Africa formed SOMEA. SOMEA has 88 stores, covering 70 countries, with South Africa contributing a total of ten percent. The current economic pressure in SA and the increase of unemployment makes 2013 a tough year for the industry, but it has a slight perk for employed consumers due to price deflation.
The Key Notes for Sony 2013 include an emphasis on their upcoming 4K products, audio components, portable audio products, mobile devices, lifestyle products, gaming consoles and digital imaging mirror less SLR cameras. “It’s in our engineering & technology knowhow that make our products the best of the best,” said Kazuo Hirai, CEO of the Sony Corporation.
It’s not easy to forget that Sony does hold a number of awards for TV, projection and imaging, including Best Smart Phone January 2013 and its leading brand MGONGO.
Starting with home audio, Sony demonstrated the MGONGO, one of their new range of high powered audio systems. It’s convenient for small spaces. The whole unit is located in front of you, but still produces very distinct sound variant to simulate that surround sound effect, almost overwhelmingly so. The blasting intro to Sony’s MGONGO Shake 7 demonstrated its power. With all the same features as its siblings (Bluetooth, LED lighting, one touch, dual USB, DJ effect, child lock, 2 audio input, FM/AM) this 31350 W bad boy produces a potent club-like sound, guaranteed to have guests busting moves. It was an impressive demonstration, but my question was… why? The answer was simple; Because consumers asked for it.
Next was the Sony Mobile UX room, which focused on the Xperia range. The Xperia Z boasts Sony’s 60 years of experience and knowledge in one phone, demonstrating its well known one touch and waterproof features. Yes, karaoke in the shower just got serious.
Disappointingly, there was nothing new from the Playstation room. Nothing but an awkward yet cute role play from the Recording Media & energy team, demonstrating the features of the Portable Wireless Server WG-C10. The device is able to connect up to 8 devices simultaneously, as far as 14m.
My favourite presentation was from the car audio section. With voice activation, your phone acts as a remote and vice-versa with the head unit. Other cool innovations included watching a video on your phone with the sound projecting through car stereo, reads your sms’s audibly and balancing music and GPS navigation commands.
New to the 4K range, Bravia is proud of its Triluminos. It enhances images and has a wider colour palette than previous Bravia models. Overwhelmed by the 84” screen before me, I had to wonder what it would be like connected to the MGONGO Shake 7.
Sony’s Bravia has also been nominated as the official FIFA home theatre system for 2014. Why? It has three modes: cheering (sounds like the usual sports TV), Narration (such clear narration, while hearing the spectators, and all round liveliness of the stadium) and Football mode (no narration, but wow the sound is so clear, you get a very realistic feel, if you close your eyes, you’ll think you’re on the field).
Digital Imaging, had lots to share. The new NEX 3N from the ⍺ range (ideal for entry level users, with the largest sensor) and the SLT A99V (full frame Exmor CMOS sensor, 24.3 Megapixel and dual auto focus) was demonstrated using a man in lion costume and a plastic mask. He gave a disappointing performance, not even a roar, as the camera passed with flying (no blur) colours. The Handy & Action Cam, were demonstrated by mounting the very compact and light camera on a BMX Rider’s headgear, doing tricks as we viewed the very clear and stable footage on the Sony smart phone.
Notebook enthusiasts can look forward to a mid-June release of the Fit E series (with 2x speakers and sub, touch & non-touch screen), which will be replacing the E series.
And finally the new MDR XB920 headphones is very compact, adjustable, with a sleek metallic finish. Its sound quality is great and I tried not to dance as I heard that very distinct “Extra Bass”.
As the day drew to an end, I understood why Sony has been one of the leading names in its field.