Sony Launches Qualia Brand of High-End Products|
Mike Pasini, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, June 10, 2003 - 21:31 EDT)
Doing what they do best, Sony unveiled Qualia, a new line of high-end consumer electronics products including a tiny digicam, that feature unparalleled style. Nobuyuki Idei, Sony chief executive, had let drop at a Tokyo May 2001 news conference the high-end brand would be launched this June. And today was the day.
Four products introduced the new line, which is initially available on in Japan:
- The Qualia 016 digicam, a 2-megapixel unit weighing just 50 grams and measuring 69x24x17mm, half as heavy as the Cybershot U and just a quarter as large, for 380,000 yen ($3,227). The Qualia 016 digicam's monitor has only a 0.55-inch diagonal width, no internal flash and a 50-minute battery life. With no optical zoom, it relies entirely on its 4x digital zoom and the included telephoto and wide-angle lens converters. It uses Memory Stick Duo storage cards.
- The Qualia 004 high-definition video projector, using SXRD (Silicon Crystal Reflective Display) LCD projector technology for a higher quality image, for 2.4 million yen ($20,300).
- The Qualia 015 Trinitron 36-inch high-definition color monitor for 1.3 million yen ($11,039).
- The Qualia 007 Super Audio CD player that reads a disc placed anywhere on its plate-sized playing area for 800,00 yen ($6,793) and another $700,000 yen ($5,944) for matching speakers.
These four are among the 17 Qualia products Sony said are in the advanced stage of development, all of them approved by Idei and Sony President Kunitake Ando. Each device is identified by a number assigned as its prototype is approved for production. But even after approval, the products will undergo further testing, suggesting some may never reach the market.
Contributing to the high price, Qualia products will only be made after a customer has placed an order, Sony said.
Interestingly, Sony's Computer Science Lab has had an ongoing Qualia initiative (http://www.csl.sony.co.jp/person/kenmogi.html) relating to the "subjective sensory qualities" that echoes Sony's devotion to style in this new line.