I received an ad in my mailbox for the new Sony dash™ Personal Internet Viewer and I was intrigued enough to visit their site and get the details on this new Internet Appliance.
The Sony dash™ Personal Internet Viewer currently defies categorization. Besides displaying pictures (from a USB or online service) on its 7 inch display screen, you can also browse the Internet using free Apps (remind you of any other device?). There are apps for weather, traffic, social networking, movies, music & more. The apps are courtesy of “Chumby” that delivers 1500+ free Internet Apps streamed to you through a personalized channel. There are apps to access Facebook, Twitter and Gmail.
The Sony dash includes stereo speakers so you can listen to mp3 and Internet Radio. It connects to sonystyle.com so you can order directly from Sony’s online store. Sony’s BRAVIA® Internet Video instantly streams a variety of movies, TV episodes, videos and music from a large selection of entertainment apps including NetFlix®, YouTube™, and Slacker®. It’s also an alarm clock. Like the name says, the Sony dash is your personal Internet appliance to access the Internet through apps — in fact, I believe it may well be that apps are what future Internet appliances will use to access information on the Web.
In other words, the Sony dash is a PC without a keyboard and with a redesigned user interface: you access contents not by typing in a URL but through apps. It’s always on and always available at a glance without the delay of booting up your PC. It’s something that you’ll have on your breakfast bar that will play your music and display the news that interest you.
At US $200, the Sony dash is not expensive and whether it succeeds or not in its current offering will depend a lot on how intuitive its user interface is.
It’s lacking big time, though. For this type of Internet Appliance to really catch on big time, we’ll need more functionality, much more.
It will need to be able to record your favorite TV show, connect to your home sound system and play music wherever you go. It will need wireless capability with a built-in webcam so you can receive your phone calls and see who’s calling you (if the other person also has a dash or another similar device). It should even show you who’s at the door and allow you to unlock the door with a voice command. In other words, it will need to be pretty much the command center of your home. And, it should read ebooks. It wouldn’t hurt if it can also play the apps news publishers are currently writing for the iPad.
It should multi-task. Is there a breaking news? The dash should interrupt and put it on, allow you to watch and place a call at the same time, send an email, or get a map view of the affected areas. It will need to allow typing and browsing.
Is Sony flexing its design muscle once again? We miss the time when innovation drove the company.